Key takeaways


  • “Facebook is a social platform. They’ve built all their algorithms based on the social graph,”
  • “We are an entertainment platform. The difference is significant.”
  • tweaking the algorithm to display the most engaging content, even if these selections are “unconnected” to accounts that a user has friended or followed.
  • Why would you join a new network dedicated to connection with people you know if everyone you knew was already on Facebook?
  • By eliminating the friction required to forward a message to all of your followers, the retweet button created a fierce viral dynamic in which a single tweet could be amplified to a large audience in a short period of time, its readership expanding exponentially through the power-law topology of the Twitter network.
  • As with Facebook, the larger that Twitter’s social graph grew, the more attractive the network became.
  • The past decade has been good for these social-media giants, but the sudden ascent of TikTok might turn out to be the disruption that finally ends their reign.
  • By separating distraction from social connection, TikTok can directly compete for users without the need to first painstakingly build up an underlying network, link by link.
  • so long as these legacy platforms rely on their underlying networks as their primary source of value, they will retain a monopolistic protection of sorts within the broader attention economy.
  • they instead move away from their social-graph foundations to concentrate on optimizing in-the-moment engagement, they’ll enter a competitive landscape that pits them directly against the many other existing sources of mobile distraction—not
  • It’s here that I find optimism. The era of social-media monopolies has been unhealthy for our collective digital existence. The Internet at its best should be weird, energetic, and exciting—featuring both homegrown idiosyncrasy and sudden trends that flash supernova-bright before exploding into the novel elements that spur future ideas and generate novel connections. This exuberance was suppressed by the dominance of a small number of social-media networks that consolidated and controlled so much of online culture for so many years. Things will be better once this dominance wanes. In the end, TikTok’s biggest legacy might be less about its current moment of world-conquering success, which will pass, and more about how, by forcing social-media giants like Facebook to chase its model, it will end up liberating the social Internet.