I’ve posted more than my share of thoughts on Edgerank in my blog over the past several months. And as I’ve said before, I consider my speaking on this issue as to be in the same vein as commenting on an issue in one’s community. It’s not intended as a criticism so much as a concern about the future of a place I interact with friends, etc.
For those who have missed the previous posts or stumbled onto this and have never heard of Edgerank. Edgerank is the name of the algorithm that Facebook uses to decide what’s in your newsfeed. And yes, even when you click on the most recent option at the top of your feed, Edgerank is still in effect. Facebook’s defense for using this tactic is a belief that we’d otherwise miss meaningful updates. Many of us have followed or subscribed to a lot of people and pages on the network and it’s pretty much impossible to see everything those entities have shared. So, Facebook uses their secret sauce to decide that I’m more interested in Company A than Friend B and there’s X number of slots in my newsfeed, so adios Friend B. That’s the elevator version of how it works. You can search Edgerank online and read more if you’re so inclined.
But the user version is that many of us miss things we’d like to see, and if you haven’t seen a hundred messages in your news feed lately telling you how to stay connected, then you’ve had a much different experience than me. Every day I see several messages giving me the same general spiel about liking or commenting on their updates and/or adding them to an interest list. The thing is, when you start giving these sort of instructions, you’re generally talking to power users. The rest are scratching their heads and wondering if any of this is worth their time anymore. If you doubt the frustration, read this exchange I witnessed earlier. I’ve blanked out everyone’s information but my own, but this is Joe or Jane User on Facebook, and this is their poor user experience trying to stay connected to things they already told Facebook they wanted to see when they clicked the like button or became friends in the first place.
Why should a user have to jump through all these hoops when Facebook could simply provide an OPTION for an unadulterated newsfeed? I have said before that I sometimes switch to top news to catch up if I’ve been gone. I don’t mind the occasional Facebook curated newsfeed, but I would like to simply be able to click a button and see it all. Of course I could make a list for this same purpose, but why should I have to jump through all the hoops to add every friend and/or page I’ve followed to that list and constantly remember to update it as I connect with new people? This would be dead easy for Facebook to implement.
Yes, I might not scroll back far enough to read everything, but we deserve that choice. To that end, I wanted to share a Facebook page (the same one you saw me reference in the above screenshot. I did not found this page or the associated petition. And I know historically Facebook has paid zero attention to user requests to modify the experience, but it doesn’t hurt to add your voice.
- Facebook Page for Make Edgerank Optional
- Petition to make Edgerank Optional
I encourage you to both like the page and sign the petition!