Facebook

I am personally finding less and less utility with Facebook as a medium for anything other than occasionally being nosey about what other people are up to (and I’m sure that’s a large part of Facebook use for many people – the anonymous voyeurism and spying on your ‘friends’ and their ‘friends’).

Over at medium.com there’s a great post by @jeswin: The Facebook experiment has failed. Let’s go back.

I am signed into Facebook right now. At a quick glance, the entire list of posts on the first screen are irrelevant to me. If I scrolled down I can find 4 stories I actually care about, from a list of about 30. The most important page on Facebook has more than three-fourths of absolutely useless content.

The article sums up my feelings with regards to Facebook content perfectly (my feelings about Facebook privacy/management/corporate ethics/Facebook-sneakily-changing-the-bloody-preferences are another rant entirely), and this paragraph in particular hits the nail on the head:

Facebook is godsent for people who love to talk, but have nothing to say. Here is a network that doesn’t care about originality or the quality of content. In the time it takes to create something original, they could share dozens of things.

Another excellent article on the subject was posted yesterday on dailydot.com: The great defriending of Facebook, looking at the decline of Facebook from the point of view of it’s revenue model: advertising (never forget that you as ‘the user’ are not the customer – you are the product being sold to the real customer, the advertisers – and it’s starting to feel like it), and the gaming and spamming practices which go with it:

It was only a matter of time until scammers found out a backdoor to your newsfeed. We’ve called the phenomenon “content spam,” and it works a lot differently from the Viagra and diet pill emails you’re used to.

The formula is easy, if somewhat labor-intensive: Find a successful image or meme elsewhere on the Internet (Reddit, for instance), then repost it to your Facebook page. Since the images are proven online hits, they perform well on Facebook, too, and you quickly amass a huge following.

Soon the spammers start sneaking in links to external sites, all filled with the exact same stolen images, only this time slapped with advertisements. There are thousands of pages like this. Pretty much every top entry on the “people talking about” (PTAT) list at independent analytics firm Page Data, for instance, works on this model. (PTAT measures engagement on Facebook, and provides the best indication of the virality of a page’s content).

Written by , Tuesday 4th June 2013

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