The power and weakness of algorithms and how it determines your social media life
by Irma de Jong
Yes, we are all active on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and maybe Twitter. We have learned by now that social media tools are useful for our daily networking life. In our conversations, we talk about the social media the same way as we used to talk about an interesting person we saw on the late night show the evening before. Let’s dive a little more now into the algorithms.
Prepared in a standard format
Social media tools are arranged in a standard form, which allows you to use it in many ways, but a third party determines the layout and the options and you cannot change it. In fact, would they decide to change or update the format, you might lose specific possibilities. They also use an algorithm, which is a careful and smart step-by-step program, that determines what you should see, based on your behaviour.
Facebook Entertainment and Fun
Let’s take Facebook. By the end of June 2017, Facebook had 2 billion monthly active users! It is the most extensive and most used social media network. First of all, you should remember that the general purpose of Facebook is primarily for fun. We share pictures of our pets, family and exciting topics. Most of us seem to be extremely happy. People have excellent meals; they take pictures of it, colleagues musicians have fantastic gigs, they show you pictures of concert halls, they tag the last airport they are and some of them share vlogs. It might be that you in the meantime, are spending too much time watching or even get addictive or worse, you start to feel depressed watching all those people happily passing by with their great life.
How does algorithm work?
The algorithm is a set of rules that watches and evaluates your interaction. How much and what type of liking, commenting, clicking, sharing, or time you spent viewing. Each of the interactions has its own weight, like who made the communication, is it based on manual friendship designations, the user’s preferences, and other factors. It also values when the post was made and the post popularity, and how long it last. So what does this mean?
Using Facebook ONLY works when you’re an active user. It means you have to actively view, comment, like, share and post. Not only with friends but you also should connect to orchestra pages, other musicians and the musical world in general, like festivals and concert venues. Just liking a page is not enough for you to see more of it. You must act and like the posts, share and comment the things you see passing by.
Let me give you a particular example. Last fall I was noticing that all of a sudden I did not hear from certain people, venues and orchestras anymore. I just saw posts from a small group of people passing by all the time. I was wondering how could that happen? I have more than 1000 friends, and it seemed a little circle of no more than 30 people remained.
Is Big Brother watching you?
I shortly discovered that Facebook had adjusted the algorithm and made it more restricted than before. It means that your social behaviour is continuously going through their set of rules and so only the people you interactively communicate with are present on your wall. Does this mean Big Brother is watching us? Yes, he is. And there is nothing we can do about it, nor change. Either you accept and play the rules, or you abandon and stay out of the social network.
Always look at the bright side of life
As an artist manager, I would suggest playing the game. In the end, Facebook and other social media are great tools to reach a large audience and network. If you know how to play, the game will be more fun. Be active, like, comment, post and share as much as you can. Determine a particular time you spend on it and don’t let it rule your life! Don’t forget that if you build a musician/band page next to your profile, it will give you great options to do boosts and reach your audience, or even sell your products.
Understanding the algorithms make us active and productive. In my interactive self-management course, I dedicate a full lesson to the social media, and you will learn all about the usage, the options and how it can work to your benefit.