Today I logged in to Facebook and was promptly greeted to an idiotic political rant from one of my friends. After hitting the “X” and marking I didn’t want to see anymore updates from this person, Facebook asked me if I’d like to take a quick survey to help improve News Feed.
Boy, would I!
Facebook’s News Feed is arguably the platform’s biggest problem, right up there with privacy concerns. Posts appear out of order chronologically, and the fix for that leaves much to be deserved. Sponsored posts and ads are multiplying, and taking up more physical space than before. Sometimes, an update about an event sticks around for days after its relevant. And others, you see an item about something someone you barely know posted on. It’s an endless barrage of information you don’t care about that you have to mine through for a single gem that sparks your interest.
So yes, yes Facebook: I will take all the quizzes in the world if it can even slightly improve this mess.
The poll took me through 10 Facebook posts and asked me to rate them on a scale of five, one indicating I’m very uninterested and five indicating I’m very interested. What I learned is that Facebook is trying to find out if we want to see posts with more positive sentiments …
Or more photo stories.
And of course, how exactly we feel about ads. (Seriously, need you ask?)
It’s hard to answer some of these, though, because I don’t know what characteristic of a post Facebook is trying to gauge my interest on. I like photo stories, but I don’t really need to see more pictures of babies (I’m not a hard-hearted cat lady, there’s just a lot already, OK?). I appreciate positivity, but a post saying thanks for the birthday wishes isn’t really interesting to me.
Despite some of the failings of this type of quiz, it indicates that Facebook is attempting to find a better algorithm.
The social network is putting other feelers out there, too. A Facebook Feedback Panel is out there, comprised of 10,000 users, who are giving their thoughts on Facebook to help it keep the site true to users’ wants and needs – or as close as possible.
And you might start these types of quick polls pop up on the right-hand side bar, which are basically trying to see how well ads are even working.
It’s easy to ignore these tiny pleas, and I wouldn’t blame you for doing so: We’ve all given Facebook an unhealthy amount of our information, why directly help it even more? But for some reason, when I reached the end of my 10 posts to rate, I kept going – rating post after post after post.
Facebook doesn’t often ask you for your input, and when it does, it’s in that flippant way that indicates you’re welcome to comment but shouldn’t expect a response.
We’ve gotten angry enough though, and multiplying stories about users fleeing Facebook might be making enough of an impact to help us get back a little of the original site we obsessively combed over for hours.
So next time you “X” out of an angry friend’s political rant, take the survey. Targeted ads aren’t going anywhere, and neither are “so and so Likes this!” posts – but I do want to see more hilarious, off-the-cuff commentary from my friends, and more photos they’ve just posted (not those from last month that are still accruing thumbs ups and comments).
I don’t want to stop using Facebook because it serves a purpose and it’s still a useful resource for me – and hell, because I’ve invested a lot of time. Consider tossing your tiny voice into Facebook’s vast ocean … because things certainly can’t get any worse.