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How I Broke Facebook’s Algorithm

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If you are a user of Facebook, you are their product. Their strongest desire is for you to stay on the site/app as much as possible, and if you leave, to make sure that you come back often. They have a full feedback look, they know what to show you to capture your interest, they know what you like, who you communicate with (also using WhatsApp and Messenger). They have thousands of engineers whose job is to hook you. And they are REALLY good at it.

But sometimes it backfires, like in my case. I don’t like to open Facebook anymore. But when I do, I check my notifications, scroll for a minute or two and leave very fast. And I do this at most 2 times a day (well… sometimes 3). At first I didn’t notice but after a while it became clear to me that this was happening.

You are probably asking yourselves “How did he do that?”

Let’s start by saying that I didn’t do it on purpose. I have a son with a brain tumor (some call it cancer, some don’t… we call it “the blob”), and as the information freak that I am, I’ve added myself to all possible Facebook groups related to this. From the standard to the bizarre, I’m there.

So here I go, open Facebook, and what do I see? Not pictures of people on vacation. Not pictures of my friend’s new baby. No. I get all kinds of stuff related to people fighting for their live. Pictures of kids after a brain operation, pictures of their MIRs (people come to FB to get their MRIs reviewed!), long stories of what is happening in their lives, talking about their suffering and pains, and their hope for a bright future. Depressing…

I’m very active in these conversations, giving my opinions, asking questions myself, sending and receiving energy from the community. And probably because of this FB keeps on pushing this subject into my feed. But I can’t say that the experience is enjoyable.

Now instead of opening FB 5/10 times a day as I used to, now I go once or twice a day, mainly to check notifications from the groups I follow and see if someone has a birthday to congratulate them. And some days I just don’t open it. And I’m OK with that. Life is more than full without it.

Written by vainolo

December 13th, 2017 at 9:37 am

Posted in Thoughts

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The Return of the Mailing List

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Today I was browsing the web as usual, when something strange happened – a site wanted me to subscribe to their weekly email. I dismissed it as something strange, since nowadays most people use RSS, Twitter, Facebook, and (God forbid) G+ to distribute their content. But it happened again in the afternoon. And yet again 5 minutes ago. Something is going on.

The Return of the Mailing List

Once we had mailing lists and we received a nice weekly/monthly email with good information. And the good thing is – it happened once a week (not too much); it was passive – you didn’t have to go to your RSS reader/twitter/FB/G+; it was simple.

But the web got faster and faster and a week was too much time for an update. So updates started to come once a day, once an hour, every 10 minutes… OVERLOAD!

I am thinking that The Return of the Mailing List just now is not a coincidence. You surely remember the hideous shutdown of the Google Reader, right? It caused me a LOT of pain, and I am still searching for a good replacement (Feedly is too heavy, The Old Reader is closing down and Digg Reader is missing too many features). I have a HUGE backlog of feeds that I haven’t read… And I guess I am not the only one.

So people are returning to the good old mailing list… Don’t know if this is good or bad, but it is happening.

And in a somewhat related subject, check out The Slow Web movement. I think mailing lists are a way to make the web a bit slower. What do you think?

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Written by vainolo

August 22nd, 2013 at 9:33 am

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