Monday, February 9, 2015

Facebook. The Feed, the Filter and the Firehose.The Flaw and the Fix.

Sometimes you see something that is interesting and useful. Occasionally it also explains both how to fix the symptoms of an issue, as well as trigger you to understand why the issue causing the symptoms is there in the first place. Something that triggers a strong "Aha-moment". In very rare cases such an Aha moment makes you finally write a new post for your old blog.

A few weeks ago I watched a four minutes long video by Robert Scoble . Now I am writing this blog post.

Facebook needs no further introduction. Not everyone has an account, true. But many have. Our feelings for Facebook could probably be categorized as a "love/hate paradox" to some extent.

Regardless - Facebook has a central role in many people's online activities. What we see or not see in our Facebook feed matter.

The Feed
Most of us the central functionality of Facebook is the endless feed filled with updates and shared content from our Facebook friends and from Facebook pages you "like". However, the feed does not show every update from your connections.

One reason for this is that not everything in your feed is interesting. Facebook wants to maximize your pleasure when you are facebooking, in order to enhance your urge to return and spend more time inside Facebook. One way to maximize your Facebook experience is to ensure that the mix of new updates you see contains as few uninteresting items as possible

The Filter
Therefore a filter learns what you enjoy the most. It identifies both which friends you are most likely to interact with, and what type of posts that are most likely to engage you. The filter then this learning to show you the items you are most likely to like.

Many users know about the setting to toggle between "Top Stories" and "Most Recent" for the News Feed.

However none of these will give you the firehose. Both of these options will give you a selection based on what the filter believes you want.

The Firehose
What is "the firehose"?

It is basically "all social updates from everyone". In most cases "something you don't want to drink from". Many social platforms only provide the firehose under certain conditions.

In the context of this blog post firehose refers to all updates from all your social connections on Facebook.

Even so, your personal Facebook firehose is very likely to contain a lot more than you usually see.

The Flaw
So, what is the flaw? Is there a flaw?

The risk is obviously that the filter filters out things you'd like to see.

And - as the filter gets more and more trained, it is likely to show you things it has learned that you like. From that position the continuous training of the filter will be based on things you see in your feed and interacts with. And thus things that the filter sorts out and doesn't include in your feed are less likely to get interacted with by you.

One scenario is that your feed content gets more and more monoculture-ish.

Now, the structure of the "filter" facebook uses (formerly known as Edgerank) is complex and for sure includes aspects to counteract the bias over time.

Nevertheless. The feed you see is only a subset fo what your social connections do on Facebook.

The Fix
In the case you want to enjoy your personal firehose there is a way to achieve this, as it seems. This is what's described in the video I mentioned in the beginning. If you haven't viewed it yet, now is the time:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Det är vi som "intervjuade" dig idag!

Detta är bloggen som vi skapade för ett skolarbete:

Filmen är högst upp på Home sidan!


February 13, 2015 at 10:00 PM  

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