To address the dilemma of content quality and popularity

Every day we use internet messaging, shopping, learning, and working. We get used to find favorite contents via webs. Maybe you have realized that it is difficult to keep up with content posted on the internet in real time. It is actually very hard and time-consuming to find reliable and trustable information among massive information on the internet. You confront the dilemma of content quality and popularity.

What is your purpose of surfing on web?

If you are going to kill some time, then popular posts might be suitable for you. Every second Twitter accounts generate 87,500 tweets; users upload 100 hours of new video material on YouTube. [1] That means it will take you 5–10 days to read and watch. Even if you focus on some popular with top reaching rank, you would spend whole day on it.

But popular information might not be good in quality. According to a study, three quarters of the top 10 readers have interacted with misleading or false information. [2] Only 26% of most shared health articles are high scientific credibility (Figure below).

For example, in the study, one article with -2 scientific credibility showed a gastroenterologist said, “instant ramen noodles are hard to be digested, and threat human health due to certain toxins present in the noodles.” However, instant ramen noodles seem to be little more than fear-mongering. Additionally, the article also did not provide links to information sources (for instance its quote on benzopyrene). More importantly, some links sources are of questionable veracity and biased. Most popular articles are not of high scientific credibility.

If your aim is to find something useful to improve your skill or education, high quality or valuable content should be your first choice.

To help find reliable content sources, some criteria for evaluating reliability provided by UGA library are presented below. [3]

First, check the author and their credibility, e.g., if the author is an organization with reputable and reliable entity, or the author is a person with verifiable credentials, such as academic title, scientific research publications, and professional books, etc.

Second, check the evidences presented in the article, including objectiveness, science, facts, statistics, and transparency, etc.

Methods to find high-quality content on social media

The quality of user-generated content varies drastically from excellent to abuse or spam. As such contents increase, the task of identifying high-quality content on social media based on user contributions becomes increasingly important. As a test case, focusing on Yahoo! Answers, a large community question/answering portal is particularly rich in the amount and types of content and social interactions available in it. A general classification framework for combining the evidence from different sources of information can be tuned automatically for a given social media type and quality definition. Specific to the community question/answering domain, this system can separate high-quality items from the rest. [4]

Another method is to find, collect, filter most relevant and valuable content which are available online for any given topic. [5]

The third way is to follow creators or curators with high scientific credibility. Although they also make mistakes or misinformation occasionally, they usually correct or retract in time after approvement by third party or themselves. Just like academic journal retracts original articles. Take COVID-19 as an example, two elite medical journals retract coronavirus papers over data integrity questions, because mysterious company Surgisphere declined to provide access to hospital data used to evaluate drugs for COVID-19 patients. [6]

You can create high-quality content with your expertise

Generally high-quality contents are comprehensive, useful, helpful, educational, and accurate. [7] If you are willing to generate great content, you could consider using proper formatting for readability, doing research to maintain trust and authority, adding your own perspective, capitalizing on your own experiences, studies, and data, reviewing and editing. Meanwhile value-driven content ideas can give you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and position yourself as an authority. [8]

Have you made decision on addressing the dilemma of content quality and popularity? If yes, then start to curate your own content.


1. Dobrilova T. Things that Happen on the Internet Every 60 Seconds in 2022. Statistics, 2022.

2. Teoh F. The Most Popular Health Articles of 2018, a Scientific Credibility Review. In: Teoh F, editor, 2019.

3. Library U. Finding Reliable Sources: Criteria for Evaluating Reliability. Available from URL:

4. Agichtein EaC, Carlos and Donato, Debora and Gionis, Aristides and Mishne, Gilad. Finding High-Quality Content in Social Media. Proceedings of the 2008 International Conference on Web Search and Data Mining. NY, USA: Association for Computing Machinery, 2008:183–194.

5. Ranjan. The Demandable Job Description Of A Content Curator, 2012.

6. CHARLES PILLER KS. Two elite medical journals retract coronavirus papers over data integrity questions. Science. 2020.

7. Goodwin D. How to Create High-Quality Content. In: Goodwin D, editor. Content Marketing, 2021.

8. Star J. How to Create Valuable Content, 2022.



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