Sunday, December 19, 2010

How to Get Control on Your Facebook and How The Algorithms Work

Reposted so it doesn't exist behind a datawall:

Get Control On Facebook by Jean-Sebastien B. Miousse

I recently saw an article and was not surprised to see I wasn't the only one studying the Facebook algorithms. The article was rather incomplete so I decided to elaborate a bit more on the methods to get control on your Facebook.

Most Facebook users think they see all their friends in the news feed and everything is okay, they just think some are just not posting. Well it might not be the case.

Facebook use algorithms, whether it be to select what is the top news, what friends to suggest or what photo memories to show but the most disturbing fact is that there is also an algorithm for the people who appear in your news feed whether it be in Recent Post or Top News. In fact that old friend you haven't spoken in a while could be not appearing in your news feed when he/she is posting.

I studied the algorithms behavior for two months be observing without doing any test but by simply doing business as usual. What I noticed is I was always seeing the same person, which were the person I wanted to see but there were missing some so I was wondering. I was not getting any post of the people I was adding even after posting a message to their wall for the new friendship. So I asked myself what the algorithm was considering for making someone appear in your news feed and noticed some important key points.

First important key point is interaction! You must interact with that person, comment on his posts, like his post and yes this would implies visit his wall if you can't see him in the news feed. The more interaction, the more it will make the algorithm understand that you are real friends and want to see each others posts in the news feed.

Second important thing to notice is that links are more valuable than status updates. Your posts are more likely to make it through the filter if you post links, videos and images. Facebook is a data mining source and you must remember that.

Third important factor is people who are stalking you will make you appear in their news feed but not the other way around. If you are stalking someone's profile the algorithm will understand one thing, you want to see more of that person but unfortunately not the status updates, what you will get is photo memories in the upper right section of the page.

Fourth important key point is people you are tagged with in photos are also more likely to appear in your news feed as they are considered close friends. So a lot of pictures with you and X will make you see each others in the news feed and yes more photo memories.

Another factor is related to the chat. If you engage in a chat with someone the algorithm will remember you chatted with that person and will make that person a person you see in the left window of who is online. The algorithm select who it will show you is online depending on with who you chatted and who are considered your best friends. So yes indeed chatting could increase the odds of getting both chatters seen in the news feed.

Also the search engine with Facebook have an algorithm. The closest friend will appear first if you type letter 'A' for example it will be your good friend Alex showing first, not Antoine that you haven't spoken to in months. The closest you are to the person, the closer they are in the search results.

Now some days ago I tested the algorithm with someone I added. For two days we commented on each others posts by visiting walls, liked our posts and even send some messages. After two days we couldn't see each others in the news feed and I must admit it was a surprise for both of us. You may now wonder how to get the control you want on who you can see in your news feed now? I will explain everything you need to know about getting some control over that algorithm.

The place you will spend you time to do so is at the bottom on the home page (news feed), scroll down and on the left you will see Edit Options. Click on it and this with bring you to the "News Feed Settings" window. On the left you can manually add people you want to see in your news feed and on the right you can block people you don't want to see in your news feed. So far so good but there is more. At the bottom of this window you can see "Maximum Number of Friends" this is a variable you can set yourself to let you allow how many posters you want to have in your news feed. Increase it to a very high value and you shall see more people automatically. The interesting part thought is "View Recommended Friends". If you open this menu it will show up the people you should be currently seeing or most likely to be seeing based on the algorithm highlighted in light blue. This is the actual suggestion for your news feed filter and probably is looking at what you are getting right now in your news feed. Now you can click on everyone you want to appear in your news feed and even the pages you want to appear in your news feed. One thing you must keep in mind is that the suggestion is not showing everyone if you have a lot of friends or pages so it is a wise idea to manually add in the previous menu the person you really want to see.

You have to be in "Most Recent" mode to see the complete "News Feed" options.

So there you have it folks, you now have more control over that Facebook algorithm! Now that you can see the one you want to see it's time to interact with them, post interesting links, and also telling them about this should help too! Enjoy more control over your Facebook!

Share this please so people can have more control on Facebook. - How to Get Control on Your Facebook and How The Algorithms Work