Nov 19 2012
Say what you will about social networks, one thing is true: it’s not a pure democracy. Sure, everyone has equal opportunity to post content, but that doesn’t mean that the best content is actually read.
More often than not, social media is dominated by people who simply yell the loudest. And quite honestly, it can get annoying.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. For example, there’s this company – you may have heard of them – called Google. And they realized that people manipulate search rankings through dubious tactics. In response, they continually tweak their search algorithm – see their recent Penguin update – to reward sites with the most compelling content.
It’s the wave of the future: judging the quality of an idea or content by its own merits, rather than how relentlessly it’s marketed. Into this paradigm steps SayStamp, a new and innovative site where ideas are heard based off the quality of their message rather than the user’s social status in networks like Twitter. It’s refreshingly democratic. Thomas Jefferson would be proud! (Forgive me, I was a political science minor.)
SayStamp’s concept is simple: It starts with 24 points every day. Users can promote meaningful messages by donating their points. Users can promote their messages, friends’ messages, or any message that speaks to them. Messages with the most points let you discover the shared “voice of the people.” Somewhere Rousseau is nodding.
In practice, it’s a breeze. Messages scroll down your smart phone as expected. Click on one, check out how many points it currently has, read it, and then make the decision to donate a point or not (it also shows you your “point balance.”) You can also share the message on your social networks, browse messages by the most points, and invite friends to accrue even more points.
This concept works for multiple reasons. For starters, when users donate points, there’s an inherent value to their opinions. And that’s because more often than not, these are your friends and contacts – not complete strangers – so by its very nature, SayStamp ensures the signal-to-noise ration is thankfully low.
But more importantly, since the number of points a user can donate – only 24 – are finite, it forces them to use them wisely. If people had unlimited points, 100 points, whatever – there’s no incentive to truly ascribe value to an idea. “Value” becomes meaningless. Less is more, and by having on 24 points to work with, users must be incredibly selective. The net result: ideas that are thoroughly vetted and ranked by thoughtful individuals.
Moving forward, we expect approaches like SayStamp’s to become the norm across the social media landscape as users flee from paid-services and social networks. You may have noticed, for example, that Facebook now offers users the option to pay $7 (!) to promote their posts. Pretty tacky, but what do you expect from a public company? They have shareholders to please. Not surprisingly, Facebook users aren’t happy about it, and for good reason: this model goes to the heart of what’s wrong with much of social media: the idea that money, not the quality of an idea, dictates who sees what.
SayStamp, thankfully, points to a different path. Much like the wildly successful news aggregator Reddit, it trusts the wisdom of like-minded people to determine what ideas and messages are compelling. And it empowers you, the user, to do the same, and break free from the shackles of hyper-marketed spam that lacks true substance and meaning.
Somewhere Charles-Louis de Secondat, aka baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu is dancing a jig of joy!