Once upon a time, there was a normal little family of 3 living happily doing their thing. The mother of the family really enjoyed seeing the posts of her family and friends on Social Media and they enjoyed seeing hers.
After years of resistance, the husband also decided to join Facebook and quite frankly has been a total nuisance ever since.
As the Blogger of this little family, I was wondering if perhaps Iron Man was about to roll up his sleeves and tackle ‘algorithms’ head on after being absent from this land. It just goes to show that I can be wrong sometimes!
Never having been a man that is interested in ‘finding’ himself, it turned out that he was about to experience the same case of ‘paranoia’ that we have all had over the years on discovering that someone had ‘found’ him on Facebook.
We have had to launch witch hunts rivalling Broadchurch and Line of Duty as to how the person had found him. Send him a friend request and you may well have tried to trip him up with blue twine.
We have spent many a night digging up the garden, doing a forensic sweep of the lounge and checking the house for spy software just because the neighbour has sent him a friend request.
The latest trauma is that Facebook has suggested that he may know a student in the University of Baghdad. This could indeed render me a star role in a Homeland style exercise but I’m just not doing it anymore. I have other areas of the digital world that are more pressing. Algorithms!
Yes, folks this is my husband I am talking about and not my father.
The multi-talented Iron Man, who can turn water into Sloe Gin, wood into reindeers and the home into a state of the art centre of technical excellence.
Yet let him lose on Social Media and you might just want to book a one way ticket around the world. Put something on Facebook that doesn’t interest him and The Kid and I are stuck with Victor bloody Meldrew all week.
This is not a man that is interested in hearing about the scroll button.
You can see here how there is some real Ying and Yang in the house.
And then of course there is The Kid. Who knows everybloodything. Not, I hasten to add, about Social Media though!
We have the difference between knowing and not knowing.
Just an ordinary family trying to cope with algorithms and friendly neighbours.
This man has made it possible for me to live in a technological world. As I lay with my head in my heads when the Wifi or the PC fails, he is there saving me.
And now he wants something in return and it turns out I can’t bloody well give it to him. Because everything I know about Social Media and the digital world is often compromised. Compromised regularly by the changing algorithims.
Algorithms that mean we can’t go about our personal or business posting without having to second guess what a robot is wanting us to see that day.
One of the things we loved about Facebook is that we knew our friends were seeing our posts because they commented or liked our posts.
The Blogger of the family also uses social media for her work and she is able to see the reach on her post with her ‘insights’ That is a technical term by the way – I don’t actually have any spiritual insight into what people are doing!
But then the big guys started getting involved. And they are bigger than Iron Man (especially when he is on the 5:2)
And the problem here is that if it becomes too complicated, we stop using it.
We stop using it because from a ‘social’ perspective we are no longer seeing the things that we want to see. We may notice that less people are liking posts and we may wonder why they aren’t posting stuff. We have become used to doing things in a particular way and when we see an empty timeline or one full of suggested content, we miss our favourites. And we don’t want to.
Fortunately, we are equipped with the skills to carry on and seek alternative ways of communication. Pity those that aren’t.
Yes we may marvel at how Facebook knows we are going to THAT hotel or have just looked at that ‘SURPRISE’ gift that is now going around on a carousel for all to see. Very bloody clever. But we don’t always want to see the sponsored content that is being offered over that of our ‘friends’.
Voting with the like button is a start of course. And if I stop seeing the posts and feeds of people that I love to hear from, I check them out. Chances are they have posted and it’s not been on my timeline.
I also know that people aren’t seeing my personal posts because they tell me. And I have the benefit of knowing the reach of my business posts because I can see the insights.
And take it from me as a Blogger, I understand more than I wish to about this kind of thing.
But this intervention is annoying from both a personal and a business perspective.
Because someone is assuming that if we fit a certain demographic or that we are having a bit of a copper love affair that week, that they know what we are all about. Fair enough with the sponsored posts and ads because we all know where we stand. We pay to advertise as a business and as a consumer we simply hit the ‘like’ button. You can’t have your cake and eat it. That is how it works after all.
So in some respects it’s great for businesses – but not always.
I say not always because there are many of us that don’t want to enter into the world of ‘bots’. You will have seen a lot about this recently and how ‘bots’ are manipulating Social Media sites by selling ‘bot’ followers. Instagram has taken a bit of a hit and everyone is left wondering where their followers have gone. They actually haven’t gone anywhere, they just aren’t seeing the feeds they have signed up for. The rules keep changing because the way it works is being manipulated.
For those of us that don’t want to buy into this, our organic reach is compromised. Plain and simple. If you don’t play the game and all that.
And this goes back to my point about making things too complicated.
I’m a big fan of keeping it real and simple. That may cost me and many others dear in the short term but I’d rather people came of their own accord. Because they come back.
Robots don’t. They play the very fickle game of liking one minute and then ‘unliking’ the next. All a bit playground really. Plays havoc with your emotions. As my mother always used to say “don’t try and buy your friends”. She wouldn’t have realised how on point she was with this statement. And I’m a bit too long in the tooth quite frankly.
Talking of which, so is Iron Man. And if you think a ‘number line’ signalled the end of a peaceful home, just don’t let algorithms through the door.
You may have been expecting some useful ‘insights’ at this point and I’m afraid I’m going to let you down. Other than to say – #dontsendhimafriendrequest unless you want to find traces of my forensic boiler suit in your back garden.