I like everything. Or at least I did, for 48 hours. Literally everything Facebook sent my way, I liked—-even if I hated it.
It’s so funny that I stumbled upon this article this morning, because I woke up irrationally livid at Facebook anyway. Why? Because for a while now, I feel like FB has been closing me in a box, and unless I play by their rules, I am losing access to the people who want to be reached by me.
I have almost a million followers on FB. But I reach a very small percentage of people with every post on average. And this isn’t by my fans’ choice. Not a day goes by when I don’t see comments like, ‘Hey why am I not getting your updates anymore?” I’m helpless to explain exactly why, but I have a good inkling.
In order to scale with the number of people we collect on our accounts, FB has had to implement technology to filter our feeds. Because they’ve learned that “social” media is just that, and we can’t just dump people when we get bored with them or want to move on in life. So the FB algorithm filters my content based on how many likes people make on the things I share. (Because closing people into interest pockets makes it easier to make money on them, I get it.)
So how do I, as an individual, fight this type of “downgrading” of certain types of content I share? Well, I could cater to the algorithm more. I could do this by sharing things I know will be popular!
Easiest way to do that? Share pictures of my face, my body and things based on my appearance.
Yes, I guess this is human nature to give feedback on our appearances, that’s why we’re swimming in a world of selfies. But because our new virtual statuses are built on this type of feedback, it is training us to output things that will be popular, and that, in turn, tells women that achieving high statuses online means sharing things about their looks. To the detriment of anything else. Or else get buried and excised from the people around you. In a sense, we’re hostage to the algorithm.
Who thinks this is a good thing?!
And I think this is more than just about my own online engagement, it’s about FB specifically. I see way less of this on other platforms, this filtering of “everything but the most reinforced” content. FB is training people to feed the algorithmic machine with things that will please the most mainstream. Reinforcing the median taste level. I think this methodology is marginalizing people who think out of the box, closing them in enclaves of people who only like exactly what they like. Trapping us in our own echo chambers of reinforcement, where we’re not influencing or being influenced by opposing thoughts. And in addition, we’re being tricked into believing that our small worlds are much bigger than they really are in the grand scheme of things.
Neither of these things is helping anyone’s reality.
I don’t think it’s healthy. Or good for us as a society. I think the internet is an amazing place, where you can connect with people who are like you, and be accepted when you don’t feel accepted in real life, but the drive to make money and clean up the platform to scale properly is not helping us, it’s taking the good things about what the internet can do to the opposite extreme.
Don’t look for my account to share more selfies than usual, or pictures of me in cute outfits. That’s not my style. Look for me to share the exact same stuff I always do.
Unfortunately, you might have to go way out of your way to look at all.