The Day I Stopped Liking Everything
UPDATED: 2014.09.03 [below]
It seems you cannot go one day without reading something about algorithims. Google's algorithm this and Facebook's algorithm that. I understand the concept of what these processes do, but I don't understand exactly how they do it. I'm probably not alone in this, which is why so many people pen drafts about it.
Each time you interact with something on Facebook, for instance, their algorithm learns something about you. Or, it tries. It assumes that when you click Like on certain things, you like certain other things. That's not necessarily true, as the author of an interesting article I recently read put it,
So, that author found out that his Facebook feed was much more interesting and filled with commentary after two weeks of not clicking Like. His article really struck a nerve with me. I often find myself just clicking Like, hurrying through the timeline and not really interacting with anybody. The is drastically different than even a year ago. Plus, Facebook then throws all kinds of things into my timeline based on those Likes, thinking it will be what I want to see, based on their all-knowing algorithm.
Then, I read where this other author Liked everything he came across on Facebook. I mean, everything, right down to the suggestions after you Like a blog post. It is interesting that these two chose exactly the opposite tact in their approach to Facebook interaction. One achieved the desired result, while the other could not undue the changes fast enough.
Even as recent as last year, I was very reserved about Liking things on Facebook. I remember polling my friends, asking if they thought Liking something was the modern version of the read receipt in email. I stated that I thought it was just that. I'm not sure when it happened, but I gradually started Liking more and more things, until it had almost become habit.
So, I started thinking I would try what the first author mentioned. Starting the morning of August 19, I will not Like anything on Facebook. I will only leave comments on those things I wish to make note of. I will not Like a photo of a friend's cute baby or a funny status update, however badly I might want to; only comment. I might see some changes to my timeline within a week, but if not, I might go on a little longer to let it take affect.
Have you done any Facebook algorithm experiments of your own? Tell me about them in a comment below.
A little more than one day in, and I'm already finding it difficult to not click Like on Facebook. Obviously, there are many things that are pretty easy to pass up (let's face it, some of you are just not very interesting. *kidding*), but there have been quite a few times I've wanted to just click Like and be done. However, it has forced me to actually use words to express my thoughts in comments. So far, I'm liking the effect.
One thing I have noticed is much less in my Facebook feed from sites like Buzzfeed and Upworthy. I personally think this has been good overall.
It has now been two weeks since I started this experiment, and I can now say that my Facebook feed reads differently. I do seem to have more post from my friends, about my friends, streaming through my timeline now. There are fewer, "Hey, look at me, look at me," brand posts and clickbait. Maybe it is just in my head, but I believe not liking anything actually had an impact on my timeline? What else could I do to continue to improve this?