08.20.23: Local Maximum


08.20.23: Local Maximum
Photo by Milad Fakurian / Unsplash

本周的主题是 Local Maximum 局部最大。

主题来自于 Eugene Wei 和 Ben Thompson 的长篇对谈 An Interview with Eugene Wei About Twitter, Threads, and Taylor Swift。这个对话的确很长,我也只读了比较感兴趣的 Twitter/X 和 Threads 的部分。其中 Wei 讲到:

Twitter is such a bizarre local maximum of a social media product, and he within that is even more of a local maximum as a uber power user, but when you step back and look at it in a relative sense compared to other social media services, Twitter is relatively small. That’s kind of the paradox of Twitter, both its strength and its weakness.
Twitter 是一个如此奇怪的社交媒体产品的局部最大值,而他(Elon Musk)在其中更是作为超级用户的局部最大值,但是当你退后一步,从相对意义上与其他社交媒体服务相比时, Twitter 相对较小。这就是 Twitter 的悖论,既有它的优点,也有它的缺点。

这段话放在最开头,我相信对很多读者而言是难以理解的。局部最大值,或者说局部最优解,是一种有点尴尬的状态,离开这个状态去寻求更大的空间,就有可能失去在局部已经拥有的优势。后文会提到,Twitter 在公共讨论市场上几乎已经达到了局部最优解,但从社交媒体的全局来看,这个局部并不能让 Twitter 获得足够的增长和利润空间。

Wei 对社交资本的理解很深入。他在对话中提出了一个关键的概念,即 disagreeability 异见性。进一步解释一下:观点和兴趣是不同的,前者存异,后者求同,而人们对于不同意见的接受程度始终有一个上限,如果超过了这个上限,就会产生负社交资本。


I distinguish between two types of social capital. One is when you find people that share interests with you, like you both like Taylor Swift, you both like the Milwaukee Bucks. Those types of things where you have shared passions, I think of that as positive social capital.
There’s also negative social capital. Negative social capital is bonding over things you dislike. So if you’re conservatives, you dislike the woke people, and if you’re liberals, you dislike the alt-right, and I think the thing about negative social capital is the Internet vastly increased the volume of that. Every day on Twitter, you would go to the trending topics, someone was getting canceled over something, and you’re like, “Oh, yeah.” You would go look and you’re like, “Oh, of course, that’s an idiotic thing to say,” and it feels good to participate in the mob. It was a daily cancellation, it was like going to the town square and seeing who the king was hanging that day.

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