Facebook’s Meme Explosion: Why Are There So Many Memes on Facebook?

It’s easy to disregard memes as the scourge of your news feed — which used to be populated with nothing but narcissistic diary entries — but they have a much richer history than that.

Memes are iterative visual jokes developed by a community. Confined to the internet, where the tools to remix and republish are in the hands of every user, they should technically see more innovation as distribution increases. As we’ve seen with the explosion of memes of Facebook, this is no longer the case.

Memes, which rise and fall democratically, are often jokingly referred to in economic terms.…   [continue reading]

A Still Tongue: Reacting to a World in Terror

Since we first founded Secret Cave, an enormous amount of widely publicised terrorist attacks have taken place. Tributes and reactions drown social media in their wake. In tandem, mainstream news outlets explode with coverage. Obviously, both of these things are understandable. We need reports and trusted sources on events. Otherwise, we’d live in a medieval world of ignorance. Likewise, it can be affirming to see the support and solidarity that comes with sharing our despair through platforms like Twitter or Facebook. It provides a crutch of community that can negate the inherent fear and shock that affects us all.

Why, then, does Secret Cave choose to consciously eschew mention of any terrorist attacks?…   [continue reading]

Life is Chronological, But Social Media Can’t Be

In March 2016, Twitter made the switch away from a purely chronological timeline to one partially ordered by algorithms. By looking at Twitter’s origins — a simple way to update groups of people — the switch away from ordering information chronologically is more interesting than it first seems, and represents the state of the internet and the way we use it in 2017.

The origins of Twitter

When it started, Twitter (or twttr as it was then called) was just an SMS service linked to a website.

Famously influential tech critic Om Malik wrote the world’s first blog post on Twitter a few months after it launched.…   [continue reading]

The Internet Should be a Communist Utopia. It’s Not, Because of the Filter Bubble

When you talk about the filter bubble, you’re talking about something quite specific. It’s the heavily curated ecosystem of the internet. A set of rules that filter all of the world’s information and organize it into what algorithms expect you to want to see — algorithms that suggest your next video on YouTube, or show you an article on Facebook.

At first, it can seem like a user friendly way to prioritize and curate the internet according to a set of personalized boundaries. You only see relevant content, and it brings order to the sprawling, chaotic internet.

In the era where fake news and propaganda virally populates Facebook — the world’s biggest news aggregation platform — it’s gone from being a user-friendly convenience to a threat to how we perceive the world around us.…   [continue reading]

Why the Internet is an Echo Chamber of Your Own Head

Hear the writers discuss this subject on the Secret Cave Podcast!

We’re inside the filter bubble.

All the content you see on sites like Facebook, Netflix, Twitter, Instagram and Google (news, music, images, movies, search results) is controlled by algorithms.

Over two thirds of content discovery happens online in the land of the algorithms…

These algorithms use a (rudimentary) form of machine learning to profile your tastes into crude categories, crunch the data and show you what they expect you to like. If it’s anything like the profiling in Google Analytics, you’ve been pegged as things like ‘Movie freak’ and ‘Technophile’ by countless lines of code in the past.…   [continue reading]