In an announcement made yesterday by FaceBook, some new light has been shed on their ranking system of post in the News Feed. If you never use FB, or opted out, then this probably doesn’t matter much to you. (I would recommend setting up an account, even if you never plan to log in or use, just so that someone isn’t pretending to be you. Use something like MaskMe for the required email and password) If you are a regular FB user, you know the feeling.
Some faulty assumptions I think were made by the minds behind FB. Using percentage of posts liked or commented on does not do a good job of reflecting actual reading of post, and it doesn’t mean less.
Quick math, if I like 50 of 100 post, I am engaging with 50% of the content, if I like 50 of 1000 posts, I am engaging with 5% of the content. Am I interacting with less content? And of those 100 or 1000 posts, how many did I read and not like or comment, because I saw no need to, but still enjoyed the info presented?
Studies have been and probably will continue to be done about how social media affects societal norms and its effect on changing behavioral patterns. So often though, the people interpreting the results seem to be of the opinion that the old social norms are ‘better’, that a shifting of standard behavior patterns of a people group or society is bad. Yet humans have always shifted to adapt to environmental changes, one of the reasons we are the dominate species on this planet. Why then is an adaptation to digital communication, which incorporates hyperlinking, sound bites, image reference(guarantee you are doing it wrong), and plays on tropes, a ‘degradation’ of our ability to communicate? A suggestion is that with our use of external, non-verbal cues, such as hyperlinks or memes, makes us lazy in our verbal communication and less articulate.
I would like to suggest that language articulation is and will become less important as a means of accurately conveying information. With emergent technologies like Google Glass, there could well be a time in the near future when we can tag, link, and even include photos/video/audio clips into our verbal communication. The vocal sounds we make may start to sound more like written pseudocode or even true code(doubt that though).
So, now that I have derailed completely from the intention of this post, lets try to find the track again. I wanted to say something about how FaceBook isn’t really interested in creating the most user-friendly interface. This is because you are the product. You ‘get’ to use their service for ‘free’, but they still have to make money, so they sell ads and ad space. If you were to see all your friends post in chronological order (FB says average person gets some 1500 a day from friends and pages they like, then the prospect for an add to be seen is much lower than if they trim that 1500 back to 300 ones that they think you might actually be interested in(based on prior interaction, not noting if that interaction was positive or negative.) If you get into arguments often with people over issues you are passionate about because they hold different views, but you don’t engage with those you like and love as regularly, you could end up with a News Feed that makes you angry on a more and more frequent basis. So go Like and comment on those you love and with those that make you happy, and leave the trolls to eat their own.