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August 11, 2014 7:48 PM   Subscribe

Like Hell.
posted by alms (36 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Uncritically consuming whatever crosses your path goes poorly, feels terrible afterwards" isn't a new story, technology or no.
posted by mhoye at 8:02 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


So okay, I don't Facebook and have never really looked at it - but I always thought that the point of Facebook was to keep up with friends and get invited to things, at least that's the way people explain it to me. But this guy is describing it as...more of a replacement for interacting with the regular internet? So he's just getting, like, a Facebook curated selection of news and commercial content instead of visiting news websites or reading blogs or something? Is that how it works now?
posted by Frowner at 8:06 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I think the real story is how it affected other people's feeds. And it might not be a new story, but I thought it was amusing, if for no other reason than the mental image it gave me of this poor shlub caught up in a Sisyphean, yet entirely useless endeavor.
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:11 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]




I'm thinking Jim Carrey for the movie adaptation.
posted by uosuaq at 8:35 PM on August 11 [2 favorites]


So he's just getting, like, a Facebook curated selection of news and commercial content instead of visiting news websites or reading blogs or something? Is that how it works now?

It only works like that if you go around clicking "like" on everything you see. The more stuff you "like" the more the "helpful algorithm" tries to guess what you like. This happened because too many people complained about seeing pictures of their friends' babies all the time. "Oh no, pictures of a baby! The baby of someone I purportedly am friends with! OMG! Oh noes! OMG! Oh noes!"
posted by bleep at 8:45 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:51 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


So okay, I don't Facebook and have never really looked at it ... more of a replacement for interacting with the regular internet ... Is that how it works now?

Anybody care to like my wry chuckle at noting that some of us used to ask exactly the same thing about the World Wide Web?
posted by flabdablet at 9:00 PM on August 11 [10 favorites]


Was Facebook PR going to shoot him or were they going to give him a medal? That's what I want to know.
posted by Pyry at 9:01 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Was Facebook PR going to shoot him or were they going to give him a medal? That's what I want to know.

The golden fuckknuckle award for services to advertising, I imagine.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:03 PM on August 11 [5 favorites]


Favourited for "fuckknuckle". A++ will use again!
posted by sharpener at 9:06 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


I loved how it became increasingly demented and invaded his friends' feeds. I would love to see what would happen if a large enough group of people did this simultaneously. Like if you go into Guitar Center and hook up five delay pedals to one guitar and turn them all on max to get a continuous building and horrific feedback loop. We could reach the Upworthy Singularity.
posted by Existential Dread at 9:20 PM on August 11 [6 favorites]


The lesson is that algorithms are awful.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:25 PM on August 11 [1 favorite]


So okay, I don't Facebook and have never really looked at it - but I always thought that the point of Facebook was to keep up with friends and get invited to things, at least that's the way people explain it to me.

That's the hook FB uses to reel you in, keeping in touch with friends & whatnot. But FB's profit model is based on ads & demographic data; its users aren't its customers, they're the raw materials used to create its products, targeted advertisements.

The whole point of FB from Zuck's perspective is to let advertisers know as much as possible not just about you but everyone around you. They're enlisting your friends to help them sell to you, using up a tiny bit of their reputation with you each time you read something "from" them that's really pushing a product or website to directly or indirectly extract money from you & funnel it to its corporate customers who pay it a slice of their profits to keep the sales flowing.

The challenge for FB is to walk right up to the line of pushing ads & products too hard & helping you keep in contact with friends too little but not step over it & lose your value as a resource to be harvested. Pot gets too hot too fast, frog's gonna jump out.

I do what I can to minimize my utility. I use AdBlock+, FBPurity & Social Fixer to block out as much commercial crap from my screen as possible & almost never "like" any commercial product that leaks through my filters including movies, TV shows & books; but just by participating on the site at any level I still add value to FB's demographic data warehouse & help commodify & debase our culture.
posted by scalefree at 9:29 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I use AdBlock+, FBPurity & Social Fixer to block out as much commercial crap from my screen as possible & almost never "like" any commercial product that leaks through my filters including movies, TV shows & books; but just by participating on the site at any level I still add value to FB's demographic data warehouse & help commodify & debase our culture.

I do this too. AdBlock+, Ghostery. Never heard of FBPurity and Social Fixer, but I'll look into it.

It's striking how much crap that is splashed across websites. I glanced at a news site on someone else's browser the other day and it was so covered in flashing banners that it was nigh unreadable.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 9:39 PM on August 11 [4 favorites]


Here's a Chrome extension that allows you to like every single thing on your FBfeed with the click of a single button. Eliminate the eternal slog through the harsh reality of your social media relationships and the mire that is your friends' vile opinions and spewings and simply like it all with one click! Using this button very likely breaks some sort of user agreement or terms of service at FB, so use at your own risk. Also I feel like I must have seen this here on MeFi first but I'll be damned if I know where.

Also, if we're friends on FaceBook then I just liked your post.
posted by carsonb at 10:05 PM on August 11


(Works best if you scroll down a few times to get the infinite scroll unwound some.)
posted by carsonb at 10:06 PM on August 11


bleep: "This happened because too many people complained about seeing pictures of their friends' babies all the time. "Oh no, pictures of a baby! The baby of someone I purportedly am friends with! OMG! Oh noes! OMG! Oh noes!""

No. Emphatically not. This happened because Facebook generates algorithms to collect data about what you want to see, the better to sell your interest on to would-be advertisers as a tailored list of people very likely to buy the advertiser's specific product once exposed to the ad. Facebook has no interest whatsoever in whether you want to see your friends' baby pictures. Facebook wants to know whether, if they show you your friend's baby picture, you are more likely to click on a related sponsored link. If you won't, they will try to show you something else, something that increases your likelihood of clicking a sponsored link.

Always remember: if you're not paying for it, you are the product being sold.
posted by gingerest at 10:32 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I confess, I was confused by the discussion about ads on Facebook. Then I remembered: I have Adblock+. The "normal" internet is a thing of mystery to me now.
posted by SPrintF at 11:29 PM on August 11 [3 favorites]


I would love to see what would happen if a large enough group of people did this simultaneously.
You may get the opportunity.
posted by unliteral at 11:32 PM on August 11


Facebook is becoming gradually more useless for me. I want to see the status' of the people I am following, in order. In fact what I get are the statuses of the people whose statuses I happen to have liked. This means that, for instance, I often miss my wife's posts, because I don't like/comment on her statuses as much (because she is in the same room as me, so I can talk to her). The worst part of this for me is that the facebook app on my phone taunts me by, on the widget, showing me the most recent status, which, when I click on the app, actually doesn't appear anywhere, presumably because I haven't liked that person enough.

Its frustrating to me, because FB actually does serve a need for me. It was a pretty good way of staying in touch with distant friends. Now it has pretty much collapsed into a photo sharing resource. The only reason I stay there is everyone else is there currently. I'd happily move to any other platform if everyone else did.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:36 AM on August 12 [3 favorites]


a Sisyphean, yet entirely useless endeavor

Sorry, I couldn't let this redundancy pass. "Entirely useless" is pretty much the definition of "Sisyphean". The more you know!

And yes, I'm aware of the irony of attempting to correct that specific error.
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:39 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Interesting results.

N'thing FB Purity and AdBlock to get it to do what you want. I also avoid the default news feed like the plague and have the folks I'm interested in keeping up with in a custom list, which is pretty much the only page I check on other than a few group pages I'm a member of.
posted by calamari kid at 1:27 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Even if you "like" all kinds of negative, marginal, borderline stuff, the marketing still flows unabated and almost unchanged. Ask me how I know.
posted by telstar at 2:40 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]




"The lesson is that algorithms are awful."

Its the culture of up without a down. Like a digital analog to drugs and alcohol. Can one go to a bar just to socialize, and not drink? Then the algorithm doesn't give you anything.

Here's another good one. If you just visit Facebook and just read--No Likes or comments. Do this for a few days and your feel will stagnate, become repetitive, look like a slow "post" day.

Then visit the link, people you may know. Think of some peeps you knew in high school, search for them, click on a few profile pages. You don't even need to send a friend request (high school? Meh. College was better.) Now your feed will splode. At least that's what I found. These feed algorithms are like a tamagotchi with one button.
posted by xtian at 5:19 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Always remember: if you're not paying for it, you are the product being sold.

Big Bird said this originally, which is ironic.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:55 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


a Sisyphean, yet entirely useless endeavor

Sorry, I couldn't let this redundancy pass. "Entirely useless" is pretty much the definition of "Sisyphean". The more you know!

Hey, some people really enjoy seeing that boulder roll back down over him.
posted by interrobang at 6:50 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I want to see the status' of the people I am following, in order. In fact what I get are the statuses of the people whose statuses I happen to have liked. This means that, for instance, I often miss my wife's posts, because I don't like/comment on her statuses as much (because she is in the same room as me, so I can talk to her). The worst part of this for me is that the facebook app on my phone taunts me by, on the widget, showing me the most recent status, which, when I click on the app, actually doesn't appear anywhere, presumably because I haven't liked that person enough.

The way you fix this is:

1. Create a group of "close friends" amongst your friendslist, comprised of the people whose statuses you are most interested in following. Hell, put everyone in there if you want.

2. Set your "news feed" to "recent stories". It may occasionally switch back on you, so check it every so often and switch it back to "recent stories" if necessary.

Facebook will prioritize the statuses of people in your "close friends" list over everything else. You may run into the problem of overkill - the people I've done this for, it feels sometimes like Facebook will notify me of EVERYTHING they do - even if they fart near their computer or something - but it's cut way back on the dumbness.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:14 AM on August 12 [4 favorites]


Nitpick: "You can buy posters and plates with pictures of Warhol, looking like the cover of a Belle & Sebastian album..."

I think you'll find it's Belle & Sebastian looking like pictures of Andy Warhol.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 7:17 AM on August 12 [5 favorites]


shakespeherian: Always remember: if you're not paying for it, you are the product being sold.

Or, there are many ways to find use and function in a system set up to make money off of pageviews and ad-clicks, including the ability to stay connected to people all around the world, people you like enough that you enjoy hearing about how they're doing, but you don't really know them well enough to call them up or email them and say "hey, how are you doing? I haven't talked to you in 15 years, but I thought you were nice and interesting then, and I expect you still are."

As plenty of folks have pointed out here, you can filter and block the unwanted elements of Facebook and retain some semblance of an easy-to-use "friend tracker." There is no stark product|consumer binary, though to describe it takes a few more words and isn't so pithy.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:44 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I view this article as a long-winded bit of "investigative" journalism to explain why you should sparingly provide "likes" to companies and products, lest you inundate your family and friends with similar dreck.

I wonder if Mat's friends feeds would get purged of the commercial noise if they unfriended or muted Mat.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:47 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


There is no stark product|consumer binary, though to describe it takes a few more words and isn't so pithy.

But now I don't know when to stop thinking!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:12 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I'm a case where the Facebook algorithm for showing me things I supposedly "Like" went terribly wrong. I think I've mentioend this story before on here, but I'm a 49ers fan, meaning the Seattle Seahawks are by far my least favorite NFL team. A few times during the past football season I looked at (but never "Liked") the Seattle Seahawks team page on Facebook, solely to investigate what horrible things their fans were saying about my favorite team and to watch the trainwreck of 49ers fans infiltrating the comments sections to talk smack to Seahawks fans.

Facebook obviously keeps track of where I have visited because for the past 9 months my newsfeed has been regularly filled with ads for Seahawks merchandise (they've even gone so far as to notice that I'm in California and tried to push California specific Seahawks gear). Makes me wish there was a "Really?" button.
posted by The Gooch at 8:32 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


Sisyphean, yet entirely useless endeavor

Sorry, I couldn't let this redundancy pass. "Entirely useless" is pretty much the definition of "Sisyphean". The more you know!


Ah, the hazards of the rewrite. I had initially written 'empty' instead of 'useless', which I think put just enough spin on it to make it non-redundant. Still not great, though. I bet my third draft would've been aces!
posted by Atom Eyes at 11:10 AM on August 12 [1 favorite]


I drifted away from facebook ages ago, and the stagnant feed effect is one of the big thing that keeps me from going back. It feels totally dead on the rare occasion that I go take a look, even though I know that I am friends with people who actively use facebook.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:55 AM on August 12


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