Spaced Repetition Social Media

March 25th, 2019

As I mentioned in an earlier post, Web Highlights, a compilation of insightful things that I look over periodically, has been very beneficial for me. Following my own success with it, and with inspiration from Michael Mayer, I thought I should create a service to give everybody the ability to have their own form of Web Highlights.

Now, anyone can make their own Notes document and fill it with insightful things that they find on the Internet, but not many people know where to look for insight. If there was a platform which consistently fed you insightful snippets and interesting thoughts, everyone would have access to a goldmine of insight.

On different social media, especially Twitter, the things that garner the most attention are the sensational and the heartwarming -- two categories that barely overlap with things that are insightful. If I want to create a goldmine of insight, I need to create a social media where only the most insightful things get attention, so writers' incentives change from shocking people to informing them of timeless information.

Going back to Web Highlights, the way I get to remember the insights in it is by periodically reviewing it. I read over the entire document once every few weeks or so. However, this is not the most efficient way to memorize something. The best way is to space the repetitions of your reviewing in a way that conforms to what is scientifically found to aid memorization: reviewing with short intervals at first and slowly lengthening the intervals. So, for example, if I see an insightful tweet, it would be better to view it the next day, then the day after, then the week after, then the next week, the next month, the next year, and then every year from then on [1]. That is a much better technique for memorization than to just re-read the tweet every other month.

From combining the solution to the need to incentivize users to only promote valuable insights and the best techniques for memorization, arises a spaced-repetition social media (SRSM).

In an SRSM, people will see lots of texts of varying lengths by different people whom they follow. When they like a writing, it gets added to a queue which continuously reappears in their feed in intervals determined by memorization science.

This not only reinforces important insights and helps the user memorize them, it incentivizes the user to only like that which is timeless. No one wants to see a picture of a celebrity or some sensational news article every once in a while, but people would like to revisit timeless information because they may forget it. This gives users the incentive to only like the things that they find timeless and insightful.

When users only like the timeless and insightful, the authors are incentivized to post only that which is timeless and insightful.

So now, we have a social media that is extremely insight-dense that helps its users remember insightful content. Voila!

[1] Those are purely arbitrary intervals. While the intervals do go from short to long, I don't know if that is optimal -- though it is most probably better than any repetition with fixed and long intervals.