This is who I blame

Most people don’t even realise until I tell them. They don’t know it’s happening.

Facebook is making choices for them. It’s deciding what they do and don’t want to see in their “news feed”.

And it’s getting on my goat.

Earlier this week I wrote about the death of blogging.

Mumabulous reckons people can no longer be bothered to actually click through to personal websites and read blogs when they can take in snippets on so many other platforms.

That’s true – human beings are very distracted these days.

But I think Facebook’s  new algorithm will put the final nail in blogging’s coffin.

Facebook has decided to focus on “Meaningful Social Interaction” rather than actual news or pages you’ve actively chosen to “follow” because you find them interesting.

As Jenna Price notes in a Fairfax article, that means “Instead of news reports about the bigger world appearing at the top of our news feeds, posts from our friends are once more going to return to prominence – all that grumbling and sorrow and even worse, fake happiness, which only makes us feel more miserable about our own lives.”

I really liked the news reports about the bigger world. It was fascinating to discover articles that I wouldn’t have normally seen in my daily searches for booze news for The Drinks  Bulletin.

I also like all the kid and dog and holiday snaps, but what I seem to be getting is endless posts from people wanting recommendations for plumbers and complaining about people parking across their driveway. I’ve had to switch off notifications from a few of the groups I was following because the rapid and endless proliferation of it was driving me so crazy. Unfortunately that hasn’t resulted in more real news. Sometimes Facebook decides to just serve me up the same six stories over and over and over in an endless loop.

It’s. So. Boring.

I’m already noticing its effects on HouseGoesHome’s Facebook page and the various pages I populate for work. And my mum reckons she’s fielding texts from friends who think I’ve stopped blogging because I’m not popping up  in their feed.

My blog post last Friday appeared in a total of five people’s news feeds. Five. Thanks for nuthin’ Facebook.

I’m not sure many bloggers will continue finding the enthusiasm to keep posting if that keeps happening, which is pretty sad.

As for the pages I populate for work, many of the stories are getting a one-in-three strike rate for enticing people to click and read. One-in-three isn’t bad going. Normally it would result in my stories being pushed out into hundreds of other people’s newsfeeds. But not any more. The stories inch into around 300 people sights  and languish there.

I dunno, I’d have thought the fact that 100 of the 300 people who saw it thought it was worth reading would matter to the Facebook algorithm, but it doesn’t.

Go figure, cause I can’t. Oh yes I can. Facebook wants me to pay to promote them. At least that’s what it suggests to me in the messages it sends every five seconds. Except I don’t have a marketing budget for my work or blog pages.

Most bloggers don’t, since it’s bloody hard to make a quid out of it. They do it for love, not money.

You can get around ithe Big Brotherness – a bit, kind of – by liking and commenting on posts. Stay silent and you run the risk of Facebook deciding you don’t need to see that stuff any more.

How about this for an algorithm: if someone decides to follow a page there’s a pretty good chance it’s because they like the content and want to see more of it. So how about showing them more of it instead of deciding for them that they want to sit around gossiping about that car crash on the corner of Smith Street this morning.

OK, finding out why traffic is at a standstill can be pretty handy too, but I want more than that. And I think I have the right to be respected for my choices. If I “follow” something, show it to me. “Unfollowing” it should be the only reason to remove it from my feed.

Do you agree?

In other exciting news … for me … DD arrives home tonight! Yay!

But it’s my weekend with the kids, which is also yay, but slightly bad timing after a two-week separation. Ah well, another two days apart won’t kill us.

Hope you have a good one planned.

Song of the day: Devo “Freedom of choice”




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