Most people enjoy Facebook as a social sharing tool, way to reconnect to childhood friends, and to stay abreast of current news and events.
For communicators, Facebook is also an important tool for listening, communicating, and branding for the companies we represent. That’s why when Facebook changes things around, especially just when we’ve become accustomed to things, we get a little excited.
Recently, I noticed my News Feed was different again. It looked different on the computer and the feed was different on my iPhone. And then the articles started appearing explaining how Facebook is changing its algorithm. That really means they’re messing with my head and I wonder if they know what I want to see and not see. Here’s what I’m reading:
According to Mashable, “the average user’s News Feed has around 1,500 possible stories filtered through per day, according to Lars Backstrom, engineering manager for Facebook’s News Feed ranking. But only 20% of them actually make your feed.”
Facebook is choosing, based on their interpretation of my patterns, what I want to read. But if someone’s posts are already restricted from my feed, how do they know I don’t want to read them? The vast majority of the comments in the Mashable article linked above indicate I’m not alone.
A post from Ketchum describes a new “benefit” from Facebook called story bumping. If I check Facebook but don’t scroll down far enough to see a story they think I want to see, they’ll bump it back into my feed later in the day so I don’t miss it. Now “story bumping” would make sense if they really knew what I wanted to see.
“From a company perspective the more engagement on a post the more likely it is to be seen by more people for a longer period of time as it will score higher in the algorithm.”
If you’re looking for a silver lining, AllthingsD says the fact Facebook is even admitting there IS an algorithm is a good thing.
How to get around this? The only way I know is to can organize your friends, especially those whose updates you always want to see, into lists. Then, when you want to check Facebook you can view your custom lists to make sure you see updates from those friends. To learn about lists, go to “Help” by hovering over the gear in the upper right corner. Type “lists” in the search and you’ll be able to learn all you want. Know that if you have a lot of friends, it can take time to create lists but it may be worth it.
I do wish Facebook would let me decide what I want to see and what I want to scroll beyond. In the meantime, I’m grateful to be back in easy touch with many classmates and old friends.