Facebook is constantly “tweaking” their news feed algorithm – the thing that determines what you see. The current rules seem to be:
- Baby photos
- Pictures of food
- Pictures of exotic locations
- Updates from people you rarely interact with
- More baby photos, in case you missed some
- The stuff you actually find interesting
I don’t need to visit the neighborhood psychic to make a simple predication: Facebook cannot possibly make all users happy, no matter how much they tweak.
Personally I’ve pretty much abandoned the ‘book, but as I talk to people who use it more than I do, I’ve noticed a simple common theme running across them. Everyone looks at Facebook a little differently. To some it’s a way to stay in touch with anyone they’ve ever met. To others its a vital communications tool. Another friend of mine calls it a digital “locker room”. I can go on at length, but the only thing I’ve learned is there’s literally no way to define Facebook consistently. And if its users can’t do it, neither can the company.
So instead of continuously reworking the magic algorithm (and upsetting the revenue generators while they’re at it), Facebook should switch strategies, and follow the same things that the audio/video industry figured out a long while ago: create some feed profile archetypes, and let the users take control.
Most of the time, we leave the TV in the default profile (which, by the way, you should never, ever do), and it works just fine (because you don’t know what you should be seeing). So Facebook could do the same thing:
The default could be the ever-changing-tweaky-awesome-algorithm-of-magic, which is fine. It would then be easy for the user to change their View of Facebook to reflect what they want to see. It wouldn’t prevent Facebook from running ads, nor neglect the evilness of Boosts, but would probably make everyone’s life in and out of the industry just a wee bit easier.
Even my car stereo from the 90s had an equalizer…