State is a new social network that is trying to place a greater focus what the arguments are and less on who is making that argument. It’s a good idea. It’s hard for people to gain traction on Twitter based solely on their arguments. Often times you need to either have some sort of notoriety or know how to play the system to get attention. State is trying to get around this problem by focusing on the structure of content.
Organization is actually one of State’s key differentiators. Rather than start with an open text field, when you “State” an opinion, you use type-ahead boxes to pick a topic or paste in a link and choose several words that describe it. For example you could pick the portable stereo Big Jambox and call it “Amazing” and “Loud”, Bitcoin and describe it as “fad” or “misunderstood”, actor Christian Bale as “talented” or “deteriorating”, or TechCrunch’s article “Google Now Launches On iOS” and call it “overdue” or “inferior”.
This typehead system makes it extremely quick to share an opinion. Alexander tells me “The objective is to make it accessible in practice to everyone ,which means making it so easy that you can use it for both serious and frivolous opinions.” If you want to leave more complex thoughts, you can always tack on a longer text description.
The post then gets displayed to everyone who has an interest in the topic. Presumably there is a mechanism to keep popular posts near the top of the pile. You can head over to TechCrunch to read all the details.
It’s still in closed beta and I haven’t had a chance to use it yet so this may be a tad premature but this model brings up a few concerns for me immediately:
- this model lends itself towards reductionism (not that the rest of the internet doesn’t anyways). While you can elaborate in your posts the focus will be on the typehead system and I’m not sure how effectively you can convey nuance when you’re forced into categorizing your thoughts and those broad categories are prominently displayed overhead. If the typehead says awesome and that’s the first thing I see it will colour how interpret the content of your post.
- if you have to select a typehead from the drop down rather than typing something yourself then the question arises of what is available in the typehead to start off with.
- as I mentioned above, there is presumably some sort of algorithm that determines what the best content is and keeps it at the forefront (well, either that or it will be an unreadable stream of drivel). algorithms can and almost always are gamed. On a site intended to present the best arguments this seems to me to be more problematic than with other sites.
That’s what pops into my head right now and I’d love to be proved wrong. Hopefully once I have a chance to give it a shot I can update with some evidence to counter or bolster my wild claims.
What are your thoughts?