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human connection with & despite algorithmic curation
August 18, 2014 7:44 AM   Subscribe

I quit liking things on Facebook for two weeks. Here's how it changed my view of humanity
The Like is the wordless nod of support in a loud room. It’s the easiest of yesses, I-agrees, and me-toos. I actually felt pangs of guilt over not liking some updates, as though the absence of my particular Like would translate as a disapproval or a withholding of affection...

You would think that liking certain updates on Facebook would teach the algorithm to give you more of what you want to see, but Facebook’s algorithm is not human. The algorithm does not understand the psychological nuances of why you might like one thing and not another even though they have comparatively similar keywords and reach similar audiences... It seems that the Like function had me trapped in a universe where the environment was dictated by a knee-jerk ad-bot. You like yogurt? You’ll like Extreme Yogurt more! You liked eight cute kitten videos? You’ll really want to see to this graphic image of eight kittens being tortured by scientists!

...When I disallowed myself Facebook’s Like function as a method of communication, I was left with this unmet desire to let people know I heard them or liked their content, and I suddenly felt invisible. I was reading, but no one knew I was there, which made me realize that my habitual style of Facebook interaction had to change. Without the Like function to rely on, I had to comment or risk looking anti-social and experience even more disconnection, so I started commenting more than I ever had before on the platform...

Not so secretly, I think the humanity and love, the kinder middle grounds not begging for extremes, that many of us have come to believe are diminishing in the world at large are simply being drowned out by an inhuman algorithm, and I think we can bring those socially vital experiences back out into the light.
(previously: Wired - I Liked Everything I Saw on Facebook for Two Days. Here’s What It Did to Me)

Social Fixer - What Happens If You “Like” EVERYTHING On Facebook? This.
(a useful summary of highlights from the Wired piece, thoughts & observations on it, and suggestions for behaviour changes/take-aways)

Culture Digitally - Facebook’s algorithm — why our assumptions are wrong, and our concerns are right
More and more of our culture is curated algorithmically; Facebook is a prime example, though certainly not the only one. But it’s easy for those of us who pay a lot of attention to how social media platforms work, engineers and observers alike, to forget how unfamiliar that is. I think, among the population of Facebook users — more than a billion people — there’s a huge range of awareness about these algorithms and their influence. And I don’t just mean that there are some poor saps who still think that Facebook delivers every post. In fact, there certainly are many, many Facebook users who still don’t know they’re receiving a curated subset of their friends’ posts, despite the fact that this has been true, and “known,” for some time... Just because we live with Facebook’s algorithm doesn’t mean we fully understand it. And even for those who know that Facebook curates our News Feeds algorithmically, it’s difficult as a culture to get beyond some very old and deeply sedimented ways to think about how information gets to us.

Because social media, and Facebook most of all, truly violates a century-old distinction we know very well, between what were two, distinct kinds of information services. On the one hand, we had “trusted interpersonal information conduits” — the telephone companies, the post office. Users gave them information aimed for others and the service was entrusted to deliver that information. We expected them not to curate or even monitor that content, in fact we made it illegal to do otherwise; we expected that our communication would be delivered, for a fee, and we understood the service as the commodity, not the information it conveyed.

On the other hand, we had “media content producers” — radio, film, magazines, newspapers, television, video games — where the entertainment they made for us felt like the commodity we paid for (sometimes with money, sometimes with our attention to ads), and it was designed to be as gripping as possible. We knew that producers made careful selections based on appealing to us as audiences, and deliberately played on our emotions as part of their design. We were not surprised that a sitcom was designed to be funny, even that the network might conduct focus group research to decide which ending was funnier (A/B testing?). But we would be surprised, outraged, to find out that the post office delivered only some of the letters addressed to us, in order to give us the most emotionally engaging mail experience.

What kind of interventions are acceptable in an algorithmically curated platform, and what competing concern do they run up against? Is it naive to continue to want Facebook to be a trusted information conduit? Is it too late? Maybe so. Though I think there is still a different obligation when you’re delivering the communication of others — an obligation Facebook has increasingly foregone... And this goes well beyond one research study, it is a much broader question about Facebook’s responsibility. But the intense response to this research, on the part of press, academics, and Facebook users, should speak to them... together, I think these represent a deeper discomfort about an information environment where the content is ours but the selection is theirs.
*The Guardian - We shouldn't expect Facebook to behave ethically
*Think Progress - Why There’s No Such Thing As A Private Facebook Chat
*The New Yorker - Why Are We Still On Facebook?

Slate - How Social Media Makes the Grieving Process More Difficult:
"...the speed at which I watched people posting video clips and photos left me with an odd sense that rather than sharing in a collective sense of grief, they were simply rushing to share a fresh micro-bit of the news. The outpouring started to seem almost competitive... Now more than ever, we are using social media and online forums to connect with each other during difficult times. When tragedy strikes, many of us are more likely to express our sadness on Facebook than in person or even on the phone. We hear of the tragedy on social media, and we react in the appropriate way for that medium; we see the bad news, we share the bad news—or we like or retweet or favorite—and then we move on to the next story... The challenge is squaring acceptable social media behavior with what people need in real life. It’s a matter of using the tools readily available to share the most important information quickly, and then relying on our basic humanity for all the rest. Pick up the phone. Write a personal letter. Gather together in person..."

NYT - Social Media Arguments: Can’t-Win Propositions:
"Surprisingly, the conflict and dispute experts I spoke with said that you should actually engage with your detractors, allowing your emotions to cool first, and in a really heated instance, take the discussion elsewhere. “On Facebook and Twitter people are not responding to the person who posted the message, they’re playing to the crowd... They’re going to go at it with full vigor as they are thinking about your other 1,000 friends and what they will see.” Fighting online like this would be like getting into an argument with your husband or wife and inviting your neighbors, family, friends and co-workers over to watch as things escalate. All you need to do is provide the popcorn."

The Verge - Facebook's friend problem: Why can't the social network adapt to how we make (and lose) friends?
The ability to reach everyone I know in one place is no longer a novelty. We don’t want to see daily updates from everyone we meet in perpetuity. Facebook’s contingency plan for dealing with its friendship paradox — that ballooning Friends lists both clog the News Feed and make it awkward to share — is its increasingly intelligent algorithm, which aims to show only relevant content in your feed. But algorithms can only go so far when we're adding new friends quicker than we're unfriending old ones, and Facebook is afraid to show you the same page twice. When people say, "I hate Facebook," what I think they’re really saying is, "I wish my real friends would post more stuff so my feed wasn’t full of randos."
*Social Media Examiner - 18 Ways to Improve Your Facebook News Feed Performance
*Marketing Land - Popularity Pays: People Are 32% More Likely To ‘Like’ If There Is A Preexisting Positive Vote
*Marketing Land - Your Facebook Post’s Lifespan May Be Shorter Than You Think, 50% Of Post Reach Is Achieved In 30 Minutes
*Buffer - What Really Happens When Someone Clicks Your Facebook Like Button
*Buzzfeed - The Number Facebook Doesn’t Want You To See:
"It’s in the interest of services like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to protect you from the very real possibility that your “friends” are out there and they can see what you’re doing, but they just don’t care. Or, alternatively, that you’re less interesting than you think you are."

previously: we all really are just rats in the Facebook maze - the facebook algorithm is teaching you what to want - we’d love to say “It’s not you, it’s us” but it’s totally you - the deathspiral of the "like"
posted by flex (73 comments total) 62 users marked this as a favorite

 
...When I disallowed myself Facebook’s Like function as a method of communication, I was left with this unmet desire to let people know I heard them or liked their content, and I suddenly felt invisible.

Guys. Guys.

This plate of beans is delicious.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:47 AM on August 18 [34 favorites]


Facebook supplanted MySpace, which supplanted Friendster, which supplanted actually having any friends. Do you remember physically having friends? It was awful. You couldn’t tap people’s faces to make them go away.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:00 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


I got curious and looked at her Facebook page. She Liked Medium (the blog that published her post) on August 16th. Experiment's over.
posted by davebush at 8:00 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]


I like a lot of things that I see on Facebook, but I Like very few. It's basically the only option they give, so I prefer to save it for things like "Baby has arrived!" and "Just found a job!" and "The cancer is in remission!" and "Engaged!". However, I'm more liberal with it on things that people are saying directly to me - posting on my wall or commenting on one of my posts - I'll Like things that I like there.

On a related note, Facebook keeps telling me, over and over again, that three of my hundreds of Facebook friends Like Facebook. I'd be embarrassed at the low hit rate, especially given that one of the three is a teenager who was a pre-teen when he Liked it, but Facebook apparently has no such compunction.
posted by Flunkie at 8:00 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


I got curious and looked at her Facebook page. She Liked Medium (the blog that published her post) on August 16th. Experiment's over.

Yeah, but when Facebook says that you 'like' something, you may not have clicked anything at all. You may have done something 6 months ago on Facebook tenuously affiliated with a brand (maybe liked an article, or a cute photo), who then may deploy your brand 'like' indefinitely into the future.

Because Facebook sucks, and is a deeply dishonest company. But you knew that.
posted by leotrotsky at 8:07 AM on August 18 [17 favorites]


When I disallowed myself Facebook’s Like function as a method of communication, I was left with this unmet desire to let people know I heard them or liked their content, and I suddenly felt invisible.

Jesus Christ, I guess humans have always been narcissistic and self-absorbed, but it feels like social media has elevated this to a religion when it makes someone anxious that they can't tell the world how they feel about something right this second. Liking, live tweeting, live blogging, that asshole Anil Dash demanding that everyone text and tweet during movies...

And it looks like the author still doesn't get it:

I was reading, but no one knew I was there, which made me realize that my habitual style of Facebook interaction had to change. Without the Like function to rely on, I had to comment or risk looking anti-social and experience even more disconnection, so I started commenting more than I ever had before on the platform.

How about you don't need to comment or reply to every damn thing, and that every single thought or feeling you have does not need to be immediately broadcast?

The world will keep on spinning if you, say, read an article and don't tell anyone about it.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:08 AM on August 18 [27 favorites]


Do you remember physically having friends? It was awful. You couldn’t tap people’s faces to make them go away.

No, you totally could! You just had to use a little more force than you do now.
posted by escabeche at 8:10 AM on August 18 [91 favorites]


It amuses me that the "Like" reflex is becoming so ingrained already that I've had multiple people tell me they were momentarily flummoxed when they wanted to Like something I said on an email chain and couldn't.

You Like me! You really Like me!
posted by psoas at 8:16 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


I already don't use the Like button, I'm ahead of the trend!
posted by jeather at 8:18 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


I get this article and it makes sense. We've translated our verbal world into our online one. We don't see a friend in person as often (or if they live far away) so comments, shares & likes are a method of keeping in touch.

Personally I don't "like" things because I don't want to get sucked into the Facebook Algorithm of Advertising. (Also I don't want to be searchable by other people looking for Women in Canada who Like......) I use my "likes" very sparingly. But I will comment, which I suppose does the same thing.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:18 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


When I joined Facebook a few years ago, I decided to never use the "Like" button because I figured that was basically filling out a survey for Facebook rather actually communicating with my friends. So I either leave a comment (and very seldom would "I like this" express what I want to say), or I just read it and do nothing.

And I'm endlessly amused that Facebook keeps bugging me for personal information ("C'mon, where did you go to school? It's gotta be one of these places, right? Just click it, already!") that's written right there in my profile for any human being that wants to read it.
posted by straight at 8:24 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


" ... I was left with this unmet desire to let people know I heard them or liked their content, and I suddenly felt invisible."
This person really needs a Happy Van.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:25 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


The world will keep on spinning if you, say, read an article and don't tell anyone about it

, he posted to the website.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:27 AM on August 18 [20 favorites]


Sangermaine: Jesus Christ, I guess humans have always been narcissistic and self-absorbed, but it feels like social media has elevated this to a religion when it makes someone anxious that they can't tell the world how they feel about something right this second.

Well, now they have data and experiments to describe their feelings and interactions with things in more detail. We're living in the future!
posted by filthy light thief at 8:31 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Save yourself a click - just Like things in your head. You'll be fine. I do the same with Favorites, mainly.
posted by pipeski at 8:32 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


(The timeline shows I stuck with that for about 4 years, clicking "Like" only 4 times in that period, but sometime in the last year or so I decided the Like button actually does express what I want to say sometimes. But maybe I'll switch to typing out "I like it.")
posted by straight at 8:34 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I guess humans have always been narcissistic and self-absorbed, but it feels like social media has elevated this to a religion when it makes someone anxious that they can't tell the world how they feel about something right this second.

This. I don't like what social media has done to us. I mean, human beings are by nature self-absorbed (you live inside your self, after all) but wow has that tendency been nurtured and heightened in the past decade.

I think social media has made us think about ourselves so much (or at least, the curated version of ourselves we present online) that we're getting noticeably stupider, rapidly. The soma is working?
posted by LooseFilter at 8:36 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


I am actually a lot more liberal with Metafilter favorites than Facebook likes simply because I don't have the impression that my Metafilter data is going to be used by marketers to try to manipulate me into doing things against my own best interests.
posted by Vulgar Euphemism at 8:38 AM on August 18 [26 favorites]


My whole Facebook experience must be shaped by a bunch of things that I Liked in August-September 2009, when I was briefly under the impression that it worked like Flickr or Twitter and notified people about who was starring their posts. When I found out it was just feeding some mystery algorithm instead, that was enough Liking for me.
posted by enf at 8:46 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


This person really needs a Happy Van.

I was saving for a Crazy Uncle Van but now I think maybe I should get a Happy Van instead.
posted by thelonius at 8:47 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I took this "not-Liking" thing on Facebook much further a couple of years ago. I went through my News Feed and hid everyone's posts. It took me a long time, but I clicked and clicked, and now I don't see anyone's activity when I go to Facebook. So now there's not much reason to visit Facebook at all... it's great! If I want to see what someone is up to, which is basically never, I go to their page and look.

I left my wife's activity visible, but I usually already know what she's up to.
posted by dammitjim at 8:51 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


The single thing that really improved my Facebook feed was unfriending everyone I wouldn't have coffee with more than once. Dropped all the high school classmates I didn't care about, dropped the casual acquaintances, dropped the annoying people from three jobs ago. Then I dropped people who just use it for quizzes -- that's not staying in touch. Now it's fairly useful.
posted by Bryant at 8:52 AM on August 18 [5 favorites]


I've found Facebook to be a lot more pleasant once I faked my own death and started living in a tent in the desert with no electricity or internet access. One time a friend stumbled across the tent and I just acted like a jerk until he went away, problem solved
posted by shakespeherian at 8:55 AM on August 18 [31 favorites]


I am actually a lot more liberal with Metafilter favorites than Facebook likes simply because I don't have the impression that my Metafilter data is going to be used by marketers to try to manipulate me into doing things against my own best interests.


Wait.. you mean my mefi page isn't curated based on what I've favourited? All that effort wasted!
posted by Cannon Fodder at 8:56 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


I am actually a lot more liberal with Metafilter favorites than Facebook likes simply because I don't have the impression that my Metafilter data is going to be used by marketers

Liberal with favorites? I can't help but notice that many of my comments are available for favoriting right now....
posted by LooseFilter at 8:57 AM on August 18 [7 favorites]


The first thing I noticed was how difficult it was to not like things on Facebook.

...are we talking about Facebook, the popular online social networking service?

Wow. People have different experiences. In my experience, Facebook is for finding out that your peripheral acquaintances oppose gay marriage or don't know the difference between 'you're' and 'your'. It's a sophisticated software tool for winnowing the list of people you can tolerate down to nothing...
posted by Sing Or Swim at 8:57 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


unfriending everyone I wouldn't have coffee with more than once

Yeah, I did this, too. Get rid of people I don't legitimately care about a little. Every year or so I'll go look through the list and drop a couple of people.

I have never actually used the Like button once, or entered any interests, even though I've had an account almost since it came out. I used to post pictures, but I've deleted those now. I've been considering deleting the account, but meh... it's not bothering me.
posted by dammitjim at 8:58 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


It's all so very silly, because these articles either divorce the various forms of functionality of Facebook from its numerous ills, or fall into their own navels regarding how they use Facebook.

Just like Favorites on MetaFilter, Likes can serve various purposes, and have different meanings for different people. Yes, there's the technical aspects of liking things that are not comments or pictures from your friends, but Likes also serve as a quick way to show a casual/distant friend or a relative that you like/ support/ have seen something they have shared. For me, it shows me who has seen and enjoyed something I shared.

If the technical structure of Likes irks you, leave comments instead, send people personal emails, or give them a call. Yes, Facebook's method of only pushing key items to your feed is really annoying (and now they're informing users of "popular" items from their friends, blech), but it's the only network where the majority of people I kind of like are active. Why Are We Still On Facebook? Because no one is on Diaspora*, and I don't want to try and talk my parents through the process of joining that.
A Pew poll last May showed that teen-agers—often expected to over-share—are now opting for private profiles more than sixty per cent of the time, and are often limiting what they share and whom they share it with. Fifty-nine per cent have deleted or edited a post, fifty-three per cent have deleted comments, forty-five per cent have removed tags from photos, and fifty-eight per cent have blocked a friend. All this socializing can start to wear on your nerves.
Wear on your nerves, or realizing that by sharing everything, they could jeopardize their future, or worse, face legal repercussions for their actions? The kids are getting internet savvy, I think.
posted by filthy light thief at 8:58 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Without the Like function to rely on, I had to comment or risk looking anti-social and experience even more disconnection

Number Two is unmutual! Unmutual! Disharmonious!

Social conversion for Number Two! Unmutual!

Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual! Unmutual!
posted by Herodios at 8:59 AM on August 18 [7 favorites]


How is it that nobody seems to get the fact that Facebook collects all sorts of implicit Like metrics? Nowhere in the article does she mention that she refused to click on any links. The only way to really run a robust experiment here is to not only not like but also to not click *on anything*. On top of that you really have to block third party IFrames on all the pages you visit, to block that pesky like button from popping up everywhere on the interweb (FB has *really* deep info on all the affiliate sites you visit). For all we know that's not even enough- FB knows how long you've dwelled at a particular point in your feed so they might guess that you admired that image of Justin Bieber a little longer than you'd like to admit.
posted by simra at 9:16 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


The only appropriate comment to a facebook post is

Reply All: Please unsubscribe me from this list.
posted by srboisvert at 9:18 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Isn't it just easier to stop using Facebook instead of endlessly whining about how they're somehow going to mine you for data to destroy your life and turn you into a mindless automaton who only knows how to consume?
posted by palomar at 9:42 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]


On top of that you really have to block third party IFrames on all the pages you visit, to block that pesky like button from popping up everywhere on the interweb (FB has *really* deep info on all the affiliate sites you visit).

Disconnect blocks tracking by Google, Facebook, Twitter & a host of less known sites. They also make Disconnect Search to keep Google, Bing or whoever you use from tracking your searches.
posted by scalefree at 9:44 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:44 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


This article went around just as virally as everything else does, and I and a not insignificant portion of my friends have decided to try it for ourselves.

It feels a little weird to wean myself off of it. I posted that my "like" button behavior in the past was the equivalent of a nod and a half-smile, and that people can go ahead and assume that I'm still doing that whether they see it or not.

I still miss LiveJournal, and before that, my own blog where I hand-coded HTML and was meticulous about using non-breaking spaces so I could double-space between sentences. Those were the days. Long, thoughtful, heartfelt posts instead of two-sentence grumbles.
posted by Foosnark at 9:44 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Isn't it just easier to stop using Facebook instead of endlessly whining about how they're somehow going to mine you for data to destroy your life and turn you into a mindless automaton who only knows how to consume?

But CORPORATIONS
posted by shakespeherian at 9:45 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


Agree? Disagree? Voice your thoughts by commenting on this post on Facebook.

I see what you did there, Social Fixer.
posted by Foosnark at 9:46 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I mostly confine myself to downvotes on reddit.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 9:49 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


This has pushed me over the edge... I've downloaded and installed RSSOwl, and MetaFilter is my third feed I've added to it, right after Dave Winer and Doc Searls.

I'm taking back control of my agenda, no longer letting it be chosen for me.
posted by MikeWarot at 9:49 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I'm taking back control of my agenda, no longer letting it be chosen for me.

Everything is proceeding as I have foreseen.
posted by scalefree at 9:57 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


I'm just perplexed by how many half-dressed Brazilian teenagers Facebook thinks I May Know.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:12 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


But seriously, is there any way to make that shit shop?
posted by gottabefunky at 10:12 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I deal with it by being very selective about whom I friend, being very ready to unfriend or block, being brutal with the "hide" and "block all content from..." options, use Adblock, and things are fine.
posted by Decani at 10:16 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


My Facebook feed works pretty well for me. Acquaintances who post mildly irritating stuff don't show up (I unfriend or block people who post totally irritating stuff), and the magazines that I like to read show up in my feed.

I do wonder about the pundits that write about how terrible Facebook is.

I suppose it's a universal theme that a lot of potential readers can relate to, which means of course that these anti-Facebook screeds are really all about speaking to the lowest-common denominator.

The stupid LinkedIn Pulse stories also always seem to feature some corporate lizard-brained moron ranting about Facebook in hopes of getting clicks and shares.
posted by Nevin at 10:16 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Or what Decani said.
posted by Nevin at 10:17 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I quit reading articles with headlines written in Upworthy clickbait style. There was nothing left.
posted by Pfardentrott at 10:22 AM on August 18 [4 favorites]


I "Like" pretty much everything I see. If you're posting stuff I don't want to like, I probably already unfollowed you. Is it possible this is the reason Facebook shows me so much random junk and sometimes doesn't show me "important" stuff (births, deaths, engagements, weddings)? I guess. But I refuse to stop. The day I have to try to start thinking one step ahead of Facebook is the day I quit. It's just not that important. I'll take what I can get, for now.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:24 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


And I'm endlessly amused that Facebook keeps bugging me for personal information ("C'mon, where did you go to school? It's gotta be one of these places, right? Just click it, already!") that's written right there in my profile for any human being that wants to read it.

Facebook keeps asking who my favorite sports teams are, which means it thinks I like sports, which means it doesn't know a damn thing about me, so whatever I am doing is working.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 10:50 AM on August 18 [7 favorites]


Here's relevant news: Twitter is testing a change to the way "favorites" work. Twitter will start sharing favorited tweets with your followers, much like they do with retweets. This ruins favorites IMHO (I don't want to share everything I like with my followers - that's why I stopped liking things on Facebook). But I guess the marketing machine needs to be fed - *BRING IT MORE INTERACTION!*
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:53 AM on August 18 [2 favorites]


(Jesus, and I thought I was self-absorbed.)
posted by IndigoJones at 11:22 AM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I feel like I have a parallel-universe Facebook because it's so radically different from everyone else's stated experience. My entire feed is like:
- Went to the cabin this weekend and caught some fish!

- My sister had a baby and now I'm an aunt! Look at her chubby cheeks!

- Got a new puppy! What should I name him?

- Yay, [state] legalized same sex marriage! Way to go, [state]!
I never see anything racist or homophobic or wacko. I hardly even ever see stupid memes... am I doing it wrong? Has the Facebook algorithm decided to shelter me from this stuff?
posted by desjardins at 11:25 AM on August 18 [12 favorites]


Yeah my FB mainly serves to keep me in touch with some political activists and writers I like; apparently some Faithful Christian Men want to meet me? but that's their business not mine.
posted by allthinky at 11:28 AM on August 18 [3 favorites]


I still miss LiveJournal, and before that, my own blog where I hand-coded HTML and was meticulous about using non-breaking spaces so I could double-space between sentences. Those were the days. Long, thoughtful, heartfelt posts instead of two-sentence grumbles.

I would have a happier internet if everyone could just agree to start dreamwidth blogs and pretend that the fall of livejournal never happened.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 11:33 AM on August 18 [6 favorites]




I don't actually know how facebook works at all. Is there a way to see all the things you have liked in the past? A Likes page or something? Also is there a way to remove the ability of others to see the things you have liked?
posted by elizardbits at 12:17 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


The first thing I noticed was how difficult it was to not like things on Facebook.

When you like into an abyss, the abyss also likes into you.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:18 PM on August 18 [3 favorites]


Is there a way to see all the things you have liked in the past? A Likes page or something?

You can see it in the Activity Log, available on the same pulldown menu in the upper righthand corner (it's a small arrow you click and it drops down) where you access "Settings" or "Log Out".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:30 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Pater Aletheias: "Facebook keeps asking who my favorite sports teams are, which means it thinks I like sports, which means it doesn't know a damn thing about me, so whatever I am doing is working."

I just put down Takeru Kobayashi, Speed Racer, and the Baseball Furies, and now Facebook knows not to ask what I think about sports anymore.
posted by Strange Interlude at 12:32 PM on August 18 [4 favorites]


I still haven't been able to come to terms with the way Facebook (and others) have re-defined the the word "Like". I just can't bring myself to "Like" a status update such as "Just ended up in the hospital with a perforated ulcer."
posted by mach at 12:33 PM on August 18 [5 favorites]


"I have not seen a single repugnant image of animal torture,..."

What if there just weren't any animal torture stories for that period?
Null hypothesis. See if it amplifies the humanity in your Facebook.
posted by xtian at 1:00 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


"I acknowledge your attempt to connect with the world and empathize with your situation" is too long to fit onto a sprite.
posted by Phire at 1:03 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


escabeche: Do you remember physically having friends? It was awful. You couldn’t tap people’s faces to make them go away.

No, you totally could! You just had to use a little more force than you do now.
posted by escabeche at 11:10 AM on August 18 [47 favorites −] Favorite added! [!] [" "]
Touch sensitivity was adjustable, based on which friends you picked.

I always selected ones with freshly broken noses, for just that reason.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:10 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I never see anything racist or homophobic or wacko. I hardly even ever see stupid memes... am I doing it wrong? Has the Facebook algorithm decided to shelter me from this stuff?

Some guesses:

1.) All your Facebook friends are people you would actually recognize if you met them in real life

2.) Not sure if you're married or not, but if so your Facebook family members are probably not inlaws?
posted by jeremias at 2:19 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


What Happens to #Ferguson Affects Ferguson: Net Neutrality, Algorithmic Filtering and Ferguson

That Medium post is so, so, wrong. There was and still is a ton of Ferguson-related posts in my Facebook feed. There was no way to ignore it. On top of that, Ferguson dominated the media I normally consume: Globe and Mail, Guardian, Telegraph, The American Conservative, The New Yorker... in other words, across a very broad spectrum of political beliefs.

I think the writer of the Medium piece linked-to above maybe believes too much in the aristoi-hoi polloi binary, where the plebes (in this case Facebook users) have little interest in anything that is not fed to them in a trough (in this case a Facebook feed).

It's an arrogant and condescending attitude to have.
posted by Nevin at 4:21 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I never got into "liking" except if I wanted to post some stuff on a company's wall and get more attention from them. Does the wall concept even exist any longer? I noticed that when I comment on friend's posts I either get "liked" for doing so, or in rare cases they will complain that I am hijacking their post by adding a comment. I usually explain to them what comments are for but yes, I can be verbose. If you don't like it, don't Like it. I had a librarian liberal friend recently complain about how "nobody likes sweet potato ice cream because it's sick." She didn't Like it when I pointed out that Filipinos aren't nobodies.
posted by aydeejones at 4:40 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


I mostly don't care what you had for lunch, unless it was particularly interesting, like, We went to a Michelin 4 star restaurant interesting. Or creative use of bacon. On fb, I have subscribed to a bunch of news sources, as well as political stuff, fb friends and real life friends. It makes a rather good magazine. Adblock gets the ads, or I just ignore them. I do hate admitting that I enjoy fb, as it is the new Get off my lawn. Since geezerhood approaches, however, who cares.
posted by theora55 at 7:24 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


A very apropos and very good short story "The Book of Faces" at nplusone by Namwali Serpell.
WHAT’S ON your mind?

In the beginning, Jordan Shell joins and you think, well, that’s good, and so you like this. Then you get his friend request. Do you want to be his friend? Don’t you want to be his friend? You remember that weird crush and the creepiness, but in a fit of generosity you accept.

Marybeth Sand wonders to the world if it is really only Tuesday. Seventeen people like this. Caroline Dwarf says: Indeed it is the second day, but do not fret! The day of rest approaches.

Kaylee Currant says: GRRRR. One person likes this.

Juan-Juan Lucre presents a map of his run! Pedro Labrador and thirty-eight others like this.
posted by spamandkimchi at 9:22 PM on August 18 [2 favorites]


A more abbreviated version of this post, from Ars Technica:
Facebook’s route to becoming a reassurance machine
posted by XMLicious at 11:57 PM on August 18 [1 favorite]


Hmm... I wonder if I can use this post to justify rarely favoriting shit on metafilter.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:30 AM on August 19


Sangermaine: Jesus Christ, I guess humans have always been narcissistic and self-absorbed, but it feels like social media has elevated this to a religion when it makes someone anxious that they can't tell the world how they feel about something right this second.

See, I see this as the dark side of the 10% Content Creators/90% Consumers statistic, which five or ten years ago was the darling of people who want to tell us how society will be destroyed.

The narrative then was that for any given medium, the breakdown was 10:90::People Who Make/Comment::People Who Consume, and this was a sign that people were becoming increasingly passive and useless. Everyone should be Creative! Everyone should make things! Make your voice heard! If you don't talk, how can we know what you think!? Lurkers are Losers! Lean in!

At the time, I was struck by how important that 90% was - the audience for a given thing. When I watch a television show, I'm not part of the 50 or 90 people who came together to make it, but they made it for me to watch, and my watching is the other half of their making. I repeatedly heard people talk about how awful that 90% that didn't contribute was, though, as if that 90% was a static statistic instead of the people consuming/watching/enjoying right now.

In reaction to that "everyone should make things / have a brand / be creative or die / where is your cheese, anyway?" an emphasis was placed on people sharing what was important to themselves. Now that's being decried as narcissistic and distancing. SEO has become a way to get and keep jobs, to be able to survive in a world with very little support, but it is inherently self-centered. Being creative itself is an inherently self-centered, narcissistic thing, because you need to take the time to ignore what other people say, do your own thing, then take up other peoples' time to get their attention so they see the thing you make.

Relating to others is trying to balance, on the fly, the sharing/enjoying divide - and I think people don't really respect what a challenging skill it is to develop. I don't agree with characterizing wanting to be heard, appreciated, and understood as narcissistic, however. I think everyone wants this, we just notice more when other people want it and we don't like what they're sharing.
posted by Deoridhe at 4:49 PM on August 20


Every morning, a cron job emails me a list of 4 or 5 people to get in touch with. I think up a sensible greeting and email them. The people are hashed to the date I email them on so that I have a set of 280 people I contact over the course of 70 days, then repeat from the first person. I haven't been on Facebook for 2 years. I am a senior in college. A technical college. But I suspect most people who know what a cron job is could set one up in a jiffy.
posted by curuinor at 6:11 PM on August 20


If you want to be more sophisticated, use Dunbar's studies about the structure of friend groups and partition the set according to a scheduling algorithm (any old one, although multilayer queues are felicitous with respect to Dunbar's theory). 5 close friends, you know who they are. 20 good friends. 100-200 normal people you know. Acquaintances.
posted by curuinor at 6:14 PM on August 20


Sangermaine: "The world will keep on spinning if you, say, read an article and don't tell anyone about it."

I assumed she meant that if a friend, relative, or acquaintance posted a note or announcement, she did not want to seem like she had not noted it.

I know if my wife posted something on Facebook and I didn't comment on it or like it at all, she might wonder why. Of course, this is partly because we are regularly active on each other's Facebook feeds. If you're not, that's fine, but if you are it becomes expected. If you announce great news and a good friend does not make a signal of having seen it it could feel similar to when you say something to someone in person and you ignore it.

A few of the comments here just reveal a different attitude towards social networking, is all. If you don't think it's important, then it's not important. If you do, though, then it is. I mean, I know, obviously. But still.
posted by Deathalicious at 1:02 AM on August 24


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