ZDNet – Physics dictates machines should minimize entropy, and humans are complying on TikTok, Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms…Social media is…trying to recover a signal from noise in a communications channel. But what kind of communications channel is social media? It’s not a communications channel between people, for the problem of how to send a message has already been solved in the seventy years in which Shannon’s coding techniques were applied. You do it all the time when you send a text message on your phone. And Web pages mean anyone can tell people what they think and thereby communicate information. Person-to-person communication was solved long before social media showed up. Instead, social media is a communications channel to recover the signal of the messages in aggregate, the totality of messages people send. If all two hundred million active users on Twitter are tweeting all day, or the nearly two billion active users on Facebook are posting, what is the signal that is supposed to come out of all of that? All the many messages form signals, the prevalence of themes, the amplification of gestures. The total signal could be progressive politics in some cases, conservative politics in another, or football, or computer programming styles — just about anything..
The content is not important, what’s important is that it amounts to an increasingly clear signal. Whatever the signal is, it is the totality, not the individual messages. Social media is the next-order derivative, if you will, of human communication — the emergent signal of mass behavior…”