Here’s What I Do For Accelerated Learning

I can’t stress enough how useful YouTube is. For people who already use YouTube for learning, this was an obvious statement. But I know this isn’t an obvious statement for everyone. Most people do not use YouTube for any kind of learning. In fact, “Education” is one of the least viewed categories on YouTube. I learnt Facebook advertising almost entirely from YouTube.

I try to read books, but I honestly can’t read too many. Like most millennials, I have a short attention span. I also like to learn about many different topics in as short amount of time as possible so I rely heavily on video learning.

Over the time, I’ve tried to develop a skill to watch most videos at a much higher speed. Initially, I found it difficult to grasp and absorb information at any speed faster than 1.25x. I started watching all YouTube videos at 1.25x a few years ago. These days I watch most videos at 1.5x or more. I recommend that you start doing that to fit more content in your life.

After I developed liking for the faster playback, I started to hate the fact that this feature wasn’t available on Facebook or most other video platforms, or video embeds on many 3rd party websites.

I use a chrome plugin called Video Speed Controller which not only allows me to watch videos at faster playback on most websites, but also allows me shorter increments (0.1x) compared to YouTube. This allows me to watch some videos at 1.4x and some at 1.6x which was previously not possible by using YouTube’s native speed controller.

While this has helped me save great amount of time, I recommend that you slowly increment speed over a course of time otherwise you’ll miss a lot of important content.

How To Start A YouTube Channel

I recently asked my friend Usama from Tech With Usama to write down the process that he developed over time to be able to grow his channel. He was kind enough to share his experiences and has written a run down of how you can start a YouTube channel. Following blog post is written by him.

Starting your own YouTube channel may seem like a difficult process at first, but after I pen down my own experience, you will find it easier than ever.

If you are already enticed by the idea of starting a YouTube channel, you probably have an idea of the content you want to produce, but the journey ahead may keep you from taking that first step. I will break the entire process into small parts with the results that I achieved.

Why do you want to start a YouTube channel?

Ask yourself this question first of all. There are two kinds of people on YouTube. The first ones who do it just for the sake of self-satisfaction, they love to create content, creative content to be precise. And then there are the ones who want to opt for it as a profession. Both these need a lot of passion, without passion it’s just a car without wheels. Combined with passion, you can achieve greater results of course.

start your youtube channel

Creative people are not result-oriented, they just keep on making the content that satisfies them. On the other hand, professionals are data-driven, they keep figuring out what’s working and what’s not in order to act accordingly. If you fall in the first category, just go ahead, start making the content, go-on-and-on until people start noticing you. But, it’s an entirely different process for anyone who’s looking forward to making YouTube a source of income. To achieve results faster on YouTube, you have to be data-driven.

Choosing the content

After deciding that you want to be a professional YouTuber, the next thing is choosing the content, the category you want to work in. YouTube primarily has 12 categories including Travel, Lifestyle, Science & Technology, How To, People & Blogs, etc. These categories do not limit you to a specific content type, you can just choose what you want to do and fit in there.

start your youtube channel

While choosing the content-type, you need to make sure that you are passionate about your choice. You have to be an expert in your game. For example, when I wanted to start my YouTube channel, I knew that my passion was technology and I ended up making a tech channel that falls in the Science & Technology category. Choosing something that you are not passionate about will not affect you initially, but it will become monotonous at one point. So take your time, and choose this wisely.

Choose the language

Language plays a big role on YouTube, and language has different impacts on a channel. Before choosing a language, you need to know what audience you want to target. Bear in mind that the audience will have a direct impact on your revenue. If you want the audience from countries like the US, Canada, UK, and Europe, you will probably go with the English language. But if you are going with Urdu/Hindi, your audience will be limited to India, Pakistan, and a little bit of Bangladesh. So, do the maths and decide on the language.

start your youtube channel
Source: 10Digital

Remember that the Indian/Pakistani audience can still watch your English content, but the US, UK, European audience will not be able to listen to your Urdu/Hindi content.

Choose the audience

What age group and gender you want to target with your videos? You should know that beforehand. Take a look at YouTube’s stats and create a sketch of the content for the most-active age group on YouTube.

start your youtube channel
Source: 10Digital

Preparing for the channel launch

The next step is to prepare for the channel launch. For this, you will simply open YouTube, sign-in, and create your channel. By default, your YouTube account itself is a channel, but you can choose to create new channels under one account. Here is what you have to do in order to prepare the channel outlook.

  1. Decide the channel name, don’t go for a too-long & confusing name. Keep it short, sweet, and simple.
  2. Write an interesting “About us” with your contact email.
  3. Make a very eye-catching channel thumbnail/profile picture.
  4. Design a creative channel-art picture.

Preparing for the Video

Before you cluelessly start shooting a video, you need to write down a script. You need to know what you want to work on, and what you want to speak. A script that the video will follow. You will compile your clips according to the script. If you don’t want to create a script, list down the important points at the least and shoot accordingly.

Video Tips and Length

When you start off on YouTube, it will not let you publish videos of over 15 minutes. So, for a good amount of time, you will make videos under 15 minutes, but in my opinion, you should make videos under 10 minutes. Keep your videos short, straight to the point. If there is a video that requires 30 – 40 minutes, break it into small parts. Do 4 parts of 10 minutes each instead. This will give your channel more content.

  • Do not waste a lot of time saying the things people don’t want to listen to. Getting straight to the point will make users stick to your video, and watch it until the end. The video should be interesting enough to keep a user’s interest alive.
  • As far as the video resolution is concerned, the minimum resolution your videos should have is 1080p. You can go up to 4K if your gear supports it.
  • Your video should have a very good description attached to it. The description should give users an idea of what your video is all about.
  • Dedicate a small part of your video to explaining what your channel is all about and what value you are offering to the viewers. Encourage your viewers to subscribe to your channel.

Video Thumbnails

Thumbnails are the most important part of a YouTube video. Thumbnails can actually determine a video’s success or failure. Here is how thumbnails work.

When you publish a video on YouTube, it goes to YouTube’s homepage and appears on the user’s browse page. If your Thumbnail is good, people will click on it out of curiosity, and if the video next to the thumbnail is worth it, they will stay and stick to your channel.

start your youtube channel
Mr Mobile’s YouTube Channel Thumbnails

If one user comes to your video from YouTube’s browse section, YouTube will automatically recommend it to next 10 users, if they come to your channel too, it will go on to appearing on the screens of another 100, and the chain goes on.

  • Thumbnail dimensions should be 1280 x 720
  • Thumbnails should be eye-catching.
  • Text concentration should be minimal on the thumbnails.
  • The thumbnails should be self-explanatory.
  • Symmetry among your thumbnails will give your channel’s homepage a very nice look.

Keywords

Always target the keywords that suit and explain your content. The keywords should placed inside the Title, and all over your description. You can also put them in the form of hashtags. Up to 3 hashtags can be placed in a video. Keywords should be placed in tags too.

start your youtube channel

Content Quality vs Quantity

A lot of beginners often confuse themselves between the Quality vs Quantity debate. Here is how it works.

If you focus on quality, a video is going to require a lot of time. In this case, you may not be able to go over 3 or 4 videos a week. The fewer videos you upload, the lesser are going to be your chances of hitting the right chords on YouTube. What I mean is, initially, you have no idea of what will bring traffic to your channel and what do people exactly want to watch, and this is where quantity takes over.

Quantity over quality will open a whole new world of opportunities. You will be publishing more videos on YouTube, targetting more keywords, providing a lot of content, a lot of choices to the viewers. If the users develop an interest in a certain video of yours, you can build your entire channel around that one video.

When I say quantity or quality, I do not mean that you do 2 videos or 3 videos a day. These are not blog posts, these are videos that require a lot of hard work. In this case, you should try doing 1 video a day and stay consistent with it. Out of 10 videos, 1 will work and open your doors on YouTube.

Channel Analytics

After you publish a few videos on YouTube, start watching the channel analytics. Keep an eye on the geographical location of the users, user age, traffic from non-subscribers, subscriber conversion per video, and everything else that matters.

Hitting the right chords

Keep an eye on the video that’s performing well. Not down the keywords that are bringing traffic to that particular video and develop more content covering those keywords.

All it takes is 1 single video for a YouTube channel to make its place. Let me explain that further.

I started creating content on YouTube in October 2018. From October 2018 to March 2019, none of my videos crossed even 10,000 views. It was mid of March when one video of my channel brought in 2,000 views in a single day, this was huge and I was overwhelmed. I stretched across the same content and produced over 15 videos on the same topic, and this is what happened.

start your youtube channel

My channel started going up in March and hit the highest views in the following months, and it never lost the ground after that.

From October 2018 to March 2019, I had only 700 subscribers, but in the following month, my Subscribers count went up to 5,000.

start your youtube channel

To see this day, I had to make over 100 videos. It was a difficult process, but consistency is the key. After these results, I never looked back and had already given up the thoughts of giving up.

But the question is, how do you make 100 videos? Well, Quantity over quality. Make 10s of videos around the same topic, and keep making the videos until your day comes.

YouTube Monetization

To monetize a YouTube channel, your channel needs to have 1,000 Subscribers 4,000 watch hours. This can be achieved by using the Quantity over Quality approach too. If one video of your channel finds its way to YouTube’s homepage for a good amount of time, it will take a couple of days to bring in 4,000 hour watch time and 1,000 subscribers.

Fighting with “Others have done this, I shouldn’t do this” thought

This thought is disastrous. It has killed many dreams, and I suggest you not to do the same. It doesn’t matter if others have made a video already, you still need to make the video you want, in your own style, telling people what they need to know, and say what no one else says. Not making a video just because someone else has already made it is an extremely absurd approach, so avoid that at all costs.

Fighting with negative comments and dislikes on YouTube

The Internet is a ruthless place and so is YouTube. There is going to be a number of people who are not going to like your content for many reasons, but it doesn’t mean you should back down. The number of people liking your content and encouraging you will always be higher than the discouraging ones. Take the negative feedback positively, and improve your videos further to a point where people stop disliking them.

Channel branding tips

  • Add a “Subscribe” animation to your videos urging users to subscribe.
  • Add a “Like” animation as well.
  • Also, add a 150×150 “Subscribe” button to channel’s lower-left corner, this appears in the channel’s advanced settings.
  • Use an “End Screen” showing two of your videos to drive the audience.
  • Share your videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, and Pinterest.

YouTube Channel Growth

The channel growth prospects entirely depend on the linguistics. If you are making Hindi/Urdu content, your channel will grow faster in terms of subscriber count because of the relatability factor. The competition is still low, as Neil Patel mentions in his vlog.

YouTube is extremely competitive in the English language, and I have experienced this too, but the point is, English is the language you want to work in if you want to make YouTube a passive income source in a short period of time. You can definitely make a lot of money from the Urdu/Hindi content too, but it’s going to take a lot of time, a lot of effort.

So far in my experience, my English channel brought a higher number of views and fewer subscribers while the Urdu channel brought a higher number of subscribers and fewer views. The English channels’ Views to Subscriber ratio was like 100:1 and for Urdu, it was 100:20.

Does Gear matter?

If you are creative, the gear doesn’t matter. Your creativity will overcome the lack of gear. Shoot with whatever you have, and build your base before you invest in your YouTube gear. But if you don’t have very good video-skills, the Gear can certainly overcome the lack of skills and this requires a lot of money. In my case, I didn’t have any skills beforehand, and my blogging career enabled me to invest in the Gear before I made my first video. My first 50 videos still didn’t look good, I only started learning after I had made over 100 videos. This was a slow process but I eventually learned and realized that this can be one approach too.

Motivation for beginners

A year ago, I was a beginner on YouTube. I sought help from videos of other YouTubers. Furthermore, I read a lot of posts, and even after doing all that I found myself clueless. I only got a hang of YouTube after I made my first video. Making my first video also made me realize as if that was the hardest thing ever. Here is how the YouTube process takes its course.

Hardest things on YouTube

Making your first video.

The very first video will take a lot of time. Maybe a day, a week, a month, or a year before you finally sit down and write down that script. After the first video, you build confidence to do more of it, and you eventually start making the content on a daily or weekly basis. Remember that it’s all about that first video.

Killing the Camera-shyness.

With the first video, the camera-shyness will also come in your way. It’s very good if you are not camera-shy, but if you are, just shoot down the first video thinking that the camera is your friend and you are talking to it. It’s very important to kill it as the face value will build a better lock-in with your viewers.

Reaching your first 100 Subscribers.

The hardest thing on YouTube is reaching your first 100 subscribers. This is a painful process and you need to wait patiently. I’m talking about the organic 100 subscribers. Wait it out and don’t lose hope.

Reaching your first 1000 Subscribers.

Reaching your 1000 Subscribers will not be as difficult as reaching the first 100. In my own case, it took 3 months to reach 100 subscribers and another 3 months to reach 1000 subscribers.

Reaching your first 10,000 Subscribers

Reaching the first 10,000 subscribers will not be as difficult as reaching your first 100 and 1000 subscribers. Once you reach 10,000 subscribers, YouTube will open its doors for you. Your channel will see rapid growth after this given the amount of content you are publishing. Take a look at what Casey Neistat has to say.

Consistency

Consistency, perseverance, persistence is the key to a successful YouTube. So what if you are not getting views, never give up and keep making the content unless YouTube starts suggesting your content to people or the people start noticing your channel. I emphasized the fact that it takes only one video to hit it, and that cannot be done without consistency. Stay consistent, keep making content, and your consistency will improve once you start seeing results.

Find the gaps

It is not possible that what you want to work is all-already done. One of the keys to success on YouTube is the ability to find the gaps. Go through the content that is similar to your idea and see what others are doing. Instead of focusing on the things they have covered, find out what they have not, and that is your room to play. Play within those gaps and make a mark on YouTube.

YouTube Tools & Helpful Resources

  • Canva – For free YouTube Thumbnails & Channel Art
  • MotionArray – For Titles, Graphics, Text Templates, and a lot more.
  • Envato – Stock Images, Titles, Text Templates, Graphics.
  • EpidemicSound – Paid Copyright-Free Music.
  • NCS Music – Free Copyright-Free Music.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro | Filmora | iMovie – For Video Editing.
  • Camera – Start with whatever you have, your phone, action camera, or whatever you fancy right now.

Conclusion

There is a lot more that I’d want to write down, but it’s important not to confuse the beginners with a lot of knowledge all at once. Starting your YouTube channel is a great idea keeping in view how big YouTube is. As of March 2020, YouTube makes up about one-third of the Internet’s population. YouTube’s search engine is as big as Google now. Millions of videos are uploaded each day and billions of views are generated. Youtube’s application is vast and using it rightly can help you in a number of ways.

Ask your questions in the comments below, I will try my best to answer each one of them with the knowledge I have gained in 1.5 years of my YouTube career.

This Simple Trick Resulted In 800% Higher Traffic From Facebook

We have worked with many influencers for some of our content websites. The best part of running this operation between ’11 and ’16, in addition to generating revenue, was gaining extraordinary insights and knowledge.

It was a collaboration with over 200 marketers each running individual experiments in identifying the best of the best ways to leverage Facebook’s newsfeed. During the few years that we ran these websites, we collectively identified many ways to increase newsfeed visibility, but here’s my favorite one because this was the easiest to execute and had the highest reward.

We identified that Facebook distributes new domains on it’s platform with a much higher weight than domains with history. As the new domains receive some feedback in the next few days, their distribution is also limited. But there was no easy way to launch a new website everyday, with all sorts of advertising approved, and unique content in place. So as a quick fix, we resorted to using new domains but only as redirectors. This wasn’t a great solution to this problem, and obviously came with some caveats. So we looked further and eventually identified the perfect recipe to leverage this.

On running another experiment, we identified that sub-domains are also considered as fresh domains with no history as far as the Facebook’s algorithm is concerned. At the same time, subdomains do no require fresh approvals from the ad networks and exchanges. We also do not have to use redirectors, and Facebook referral headers stay intact.

Using this simple trick, we were able to boost our traffic by up-to 800% and were able to provide an environment that the influencers preferred due to extra-ordinary results and revenue-share.

Getting A Massive Payout For the Simple Skills

The problem with the traditional mentality is that we feel that in order to make a big buck, we need to know rocket science. Many people believe that their compensation is directly proportional to how much more qualified they are about a certain skill.

This could be true in certain cases especially in competitive or saturated lines of work and most specifically for those seeking fixed compensation in the form of salaries. However, it doesn’t always have to be the case.

The money is in the application of skills and not in the skills itself. If you know javascript and can write 20 lines of codes in JS for your employer or your client, of course your compensation will be minimal. But if you use 20 lines of JS in a specific use-case yourself, your compensation could be 10s of thousands of dollars. Let me give you a few examples below.

If you’re a graphic designer and your main gig is to create thumbnails for YouTube or Facebook videos, may be you can charge $10-$30 for something like this. But if you have the ability to create thumbnails that will have a very high click-through rate on YouTube, then your skill is worth a lot more. You could use your small skill for a massive payout. May be you could even hire or partner with someone who makes videos, while you only focus on those high click-through rate thumbnails and eventually get rewarded long-term by YouTube algorithm.

I have also used small skills for massive payouts by applying them in areas where the reward could be very high. And here’s an example of what I did in 2011.

This was a black hat technique. Most people do not talk about black hat techniques publicly but since I was very young, on an exploration, learning the true power of internet, and also learning my true self, I do not mind talking about it today. It helped me learn a lot and unlocked the true potential of my mind. I discourage black hat as a long-term business model but sharing this is important because I want everyone to know what you can do with very little knowledge if you look in the right places.

I was still in university pursuing a bachelors degree in Computer Science. I had learnt some programming there. Nothing extraordinary, nothing that I could use to score a high paying job. Just good enough on a student scale. I had learnt some HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL etc but not a lot. A couple of assignments, one or two projects. But I found an area where these skills could be applied.

After seeking help from someone who explained me of this technique, I set up a landing page. A simple page with nothing but a video embed and some ads. I used some CSS to place facebook Like button behind the video embed’s play button. Every time a user would play the video, he would also share it on his Facebook without knowing. This way couple of his Facebook friends would also end up on the landing page and would play the video themselves creating a viral loop. In couple of hours, I had over 20,000 users online on the landing page and of course I made a lot of money.

The only skill I used was some CSS which I barely knew enough to be able to sell something for $5 on Fiverr.

Creating An External YouTube Subscribe Link

For the past few weeks, I’ve been head over heels in love with this new indie song called “Rung” by Shamoon Ismail.

After listening to this on loop for a few weeks, since yesterday I’ve been listening to it on 0.75X playback speed. It’s mellowing the feels down even further.

But I also found an interesting thing that Shamoon is doing to make it easier for his fans to subscribe to his YouTube channel. He has created a subscribe link that you can use especially externally to create a 1-step subscribe funnel for your fans. So you could use this link on your other social media presences such as Instagram or Twitter. The link looks like the one below

http://youtube.com/shamoonismail?sub_confirmation=1

You could simply replace shamoonismail with your channel vanity url and create your own subscribe link. Once someone clicks on that link, he’ll be presented with a subscribe pop up

Thanks Shamoon for your awesome music, and a cool social media hack

The Incentive To Be On A Platform

Platforms of all sorts incentivize businesses to depend on them. Most of my internet businesses were/are heavily dependent on Facebook, Instagram, Digg, Google etc. You got to drive traffic from somewhere, right?

The influencers making hundreds of thousands claiming to be indie artists are dependent on platforms like Instagram, Facebook & Youtube. It would take one bad email to snatch away their dreams, career, livelihood and fame. Platforms are risky, and the bigger your business is, the less dependent you need to be on a platform.

The list of causalities is too long for me to name. The list of my own business casualties isn’t short either.

It’s okay to be on a platform. We all need them. They are the power houses of the internet and fuel growth for all of our businesses. But it’s one thing to drive business from the platform and it’s another thing to build business on a platform. In an ideal scenario, we shouldn’t be building businesses on platforms. In some situations though the reward is so high that we and others embrace the risk that comes with the platforms.

When I started this blog, my father asked me that why am I self-hosting it. By self-hosting, I need to take care of some small bills, and also need to maintain it myself. In comparison, I could have started writing on Medium instead, which is what my father expected me to do. It can be easier to subscribe, higher email delivery and open rates, free recommendations and surfacing of my content on the platform to other medium users, no cost of hosting content, safe, higher up time, better SEO etc. Their could be many benefits.

But when I see content-locker on Medium that tells me that I like to read a lot and hence have reached my reading limit, it’s a sweet reminder of why I chose not to use a platform like Medium.

I’ve finally decided to share my life stories. It took a long while for me to agree to write and share and I can not leave my breadcrumbs on the mercy of Medium or others. I use platforms because there’s financial incentive. As there is no financial incentive with this blog, I decided to self host it even if it means lesser readership, lower email open rates and everything else that I’ll be missing out. In the long run, I think, I will miss out more on a platform.

The Right Way to Talk to AI Support to Lift Limitations

A few days ago, I spoke about the visa restrictions on the internet. I also wrote a bit about how you can circumvent those. Today, I’m going to write about a certain kind of visa restriction that I often face.

Large platforms treat users from different countries differently. They do that to apparently keep their platform “safe”. To keep the platform safe, they look at the data they have on each country, the amount of spam/scam etc happening from each country or region and then develop rules to treat each user accordingly. In theory, this means it’s harder to use these platforms from Pakistan than it is from US even if all you’re trying to do is use the platform the right way.

One such restriction that I’ve always seen happen is completely losing access to account. For example in the past, I’ve lost access to my Facebook personal account and Facebook ad accounts. Google Adsense is also more likely to get disabled in Pakistan than in US. There’s always the option to appeal for both these platforms but appeal often results in nothing.

A friend of mine devised a strategy to deal with these appeals. His theory is that all account closures happen with no human intervention. The decisions are completely taken by the machines. He also believes, and I agree, that in most cases the appeal process also happens without any human intervention. So how can you convince a machine into accepting your appeal?

My friend uses emotional signals to deal with this. If you’re apologetic or regretful in your tone of appeal, your appeal is never going to get accepted. You’re guilty and you’re showing it in your tone. Instead, my friend is angry, distressed and disappointed when he’s appealing; and I’ve seen it first hand that the appeal is much more likely to work.

Growth Risks With Facebook’s Machine Learning

Facebook has very advanced machine learning capabilities. More often than not, you’re better off reaching your customers for a cheaper cost by reaching a broader audience instead of a narrow targeted audience. But how is that possible? In theory, targeted audience should work better? But with strong ML, the broader audience delivers better and cheaper results provided that the initial customer dataset was correct.

But what happens if you get the initial data wrong? It puts their ML chase your customers in the wrong direction. Let me explain.

When building a Facebook page, growth is going to depend a lot on you first 100s or 1000s likes. Hence getting your first subscribers or customers wrong, can put you altogether in the wrong direction. I can think of 2 reasons why that could happen. Firstly, your upcoming page subscribers are likely to come from the network of your existing subscribers due to sharing and other engagement. And secondly, the engagement behavior of the first data set of subscribers with your content will define how engaging your page is and eventually define the placement of your page in the newsfeed and other Facebook algorithms.

So getting the initial dataset of subscribers/customers is extremely important. It is why I’m generally way more careful in the start when building a Facebook page or an e-commerce store through Facebook ads but later on take the liberty to test all kinds of traffic. It keeps my seed-data clean. The data that is going to be used to build the entire user-base later on.

If you have a question, please feel free to ask in comments.

The Open Internet That I Envision

Just yesterday, my Twitter account was suspended. It was suspended because Twitter thought I was involved in “artificial account interactions and engagements”. On appeal, my account was reinstated with a warning that “any future violations could lead to a permanent suspension”. But I didn’t engage in the above-mentioned behavior.

Despite no policy violation, my account now has what we marketers call a “strike”. Future strikes mean, I’ll lose my account permanently. And I’ve a serious problem with this kind of policing.

Twitter and other social media gained popularity because they provided a place to speak independently providing censorship-resistant platforms. But that has slowly been taken away in the name of keeping community safe from abuse and misleading information.

My Breadcrumbs

Because of the obvious problems with the internet today, I no longer feel safe hosting my thoughts on other platforms including Facebook & Twitter as I do not see them as a permanent place of storage for my thoughts and information which will eventually be governed by them, can be deleted as per their will, and removed permanently from the internet. Such web-applications pretend to provide a free and impartial place but are no longer censorship-resistant.

I’ve written 22,500 tweets so far over the period of 10 years, all of which can be deleted by the “propriety” centralized automated system removing my breadcrumbs completely.

Internet Is Broken Today

Just last week, founder of twitter Jack acknowledged these problems himself by doing a round of Tweetstorm

As mentioned by Jack, social media today no longer serves as a place to simply host content, instead it has become recommendation engine of sorts where content competes for attention also incentivizing content creators to create attention-grabbing content which can often be controversial, gruesome or simply negative.

This sort of recommendation engine is not just limited to social media. It has also taken over emails. Gmail now powers over 50% emails in existence, and controls/prohibits 97% of emails from reaching users’ primary inbox using similar recommendation engine approach.

The problem with these propriety recommendation engines is that you can’t view the hosted content in a different manner using alternatives yet as mentioned by Jack, but it could be possible if social media was a protocol, and Twitter one of the clients with one of the available recommendations engine. The consumer of content could pick and choose any recommendation engine he preferred.

The Open Internet

I read a very interesting post published by Albert Wenger, explaining why finally the time is now for open protocols. The traditional caveat with open protocols (like HTTP, SMTP etc) has been that there wasn’t a big enough financial incentive associated with creating, contributing to or maintaining an open protocol.

This can finally be solved with token-economics as mentioned by Jack as well in his tweet.

An excerpt from Albert’s blog explains how cryptographic tokens can rescue the internet

Now, however, we have a new way of providing incentives for the creation of protocols and for governing their evolution. I am talking about cryptographic tokens. You can think of these like the tokens you might buy at a fair to get on a ride: different operators can have their own rides and set their own price in terms of tokens. You only need to buy tokens once (in exchange for fiat currency) and then can use them throughout the fair. With blockchains we now have a way of issuing and redeeming these tokens digitally (the underlying blockchain can be Bitcoin or Ethereum or possibly its own as in the case of Steemit).

A for profit company can now create a new protocol and create value for itself (and its investors) by retaining some of the tokens. If the protocol becomes widely used, the value of the tokens will increase. For instance, think of a decentralized storage service (a la Amazon’s S3). Anyone can implement the storage protocol in whatever language they want to as long as they meet the protocol spec. They can then get paid in the relevant storage tokens. The original creator of the protocol will make money to the extent that it is adopted and to the degree they have retained some of the tokens (so they can sell them at a higher price later on). This is not hypothetical as there are a variety of such protocols out there, including Storj, SIA and Filecoin.

I can’t emphasize enough how radical a change this is to the past. Historically the only way to make money from a protocol was to create software that implemented it and then try to sell this software (or more recently to host it). Since the creation of this software (e.g. web server/browser) is a separate act many of the researchers who have created some of the most successful protocols in use today have had little direct financial gain. With tokens, however, the creators of a protocol can β€œmonetize” it directly and will in fact benefit more as others build businesses on top of that protocol.

With newfound financial incentives now available to create open protocols, the stage is finally set to make pave for the open and decentralized internet.

Analyzing Social Networks Between The Lines

I have a strange habit of trying to find patterns. I do this especially on social media. And I do it mostly to find something interesting. For example I often do it to understand social networks better. To understand how the algorithms possibly work. Or to understand what human behaviors could be at display.

Yesterday I published a status on my personal Facebook account.

There were a total of 56 reactions breaking down as 36 ‘Likes’ and 20 ‘Loves’. This roughly means 64% people liked the status and 36% people loved it.

However, the first 10 reactions were only ‘love’

And, the last 10 reactions were only ‘like’

And so my hypothesis is that this didn’t happen by accident. I believe my status was rolled out to my friends’ newsfeed in this order such that the people who would love react saw it first, followed by others.

My other hypothesis is about human behavior. And that is that as long as the status only had ‘love’ reacts, others wanted to also love react to it. As that was the only reaction they saw at the post. And when someone changed the pattern, others didn’t care about the love react anymore.

In the end, they are what I said they are; hypotheses and I would need to run down a large amount of data to come to a conclusion.

Please share your feedback in comments. Have a great weekend.