Social media and fiscal policy

01/16/20

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repost from tweet thread here

One of my goto analogies: there’s a lot of parallels between the work that goes into managing a large social platform and setting the fiscal policy of a medium sized country.

  1. Wealth -> reach/amplification of message. Follower count. (though in the algorithm/TikTok era, follower count is less and less important)
  2. Gini coefficient/wealth inequality -> what’s the difference between the folks who have no reach vs folks with large reach - and how easy is it for someone to climb up that chart.
  3. Status signaling -> follower count, engagement counts, friend counts,…
  4. Transferring wealth -> Not a clean analogy but how does one user endorse, amplify someone else. For example sharing, liking, etc.
  5. Inflation -> what the platform does to make some currency valuable and not valuable. For example Linkedin endorsements have experienced hyper-inflation and it is pretty meaningless to endorse someone now.

These are not perfect parallels but close enough that I think they form useful abstractions to talk through product changes and issues in social media.

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