So you click on a news feed item, from friend or stranger, and it resonates with you. Response? Click like. Let them know you appreciate the sentiment, political or ethical statement, get the joke, etc. But, in the background, someone else, something else, is lurking and like a cheap detective in a film noir, taking notes on where you’ve just been and what you just showed interest in. That is the sentiment being expressed in some circles these days about the Facebook algorithm.
“Clicking a reaction icon isn’t just a way to register an emotional response, it’s also a way for Facebook to refine its sense of who you are,” writes Adrienne LaFrance in The Atlantic.
In a nutshell, if you like babies (who doesn’t) and you don’t like Tom Brady and the New England Patriots football team (we are die-hard Packer fans here so that would apply), Facebook algorithm may decide not only your news feed contents but the sponsored items that you are privy to as pro baby and perhaps no sports!!!
Now, that may or may not make much difference to you as a member of the general public, BUT if you are one of the thousands of small business Social Media Managers running shoe string (for now!) boutique agencies, that is a double edged sword upon which your reputation kneels under.
The same algorithm that assembles the data bank that you walk up to when deciding placement of an ad to an audience of say women 18-35,college educated with a job in the $40,000-$50,000 range that watch the Bachelor and live within 100 miles of your client’s shoe store, is the same algorithm that might eliminate specific shoe lovers because they “hated” the Brady picture wearing his uggs shoes, or Bachelor lovers because they consistently write negative remarks about performers on other realty shows like The Voice, Biggest Loser or America’s Got Talent. And never said anything in favor of
This could affect your ROI (return on investment), your CTA (call to action) and your JOB.
Now the reason I specifically referenced this technology point about Facebook algorithm in The Atlantic article is because within the article is a rather odd techno response offered. Ben Grosser, an artist and a professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
He designed & tested Go Rando, a browser extension that intercepts your FB click reactions, then “reroutes” them with a random-number generator to select an alternate reaction for you. “If you click ‘Like,’ you might get ‘Angry,’ or you might get ‘Haha,’ or you might get ‘Sad,’” is what Grosser told LaFrannce
This may confuse not only the FB algorithm, but also your friends. And don’t even get me started on how to explain to a client why a BOGO sale on white sandals for summer got a bunch of weeping sad faces.
Bottom line, technology and data are forevermore tied together. It is your responsibility to safeguard your data by only ”liking” or “sad facing” things you truly want to be known for. And be just as responsible as a Social Media Manager in not trusting all the data you get as being 100% foolproof.
Having said that, if you “like” this blog, I will believe you.