by Lily Bradic
After confusing and irritating its users with its “Top Stories” and “Most Recent” Newsfeed filters, Facebook has made yet another change to its Newsfeed algorithm — because when it comes to what you’re interested in, Facebook clearly knows better than you do.
The social network recently announced that it would be making adjustments to its Newsfeed to give real-time events more coverage.
So, next time a celebrity dies, you might be subjected to even more posts about it. Let’s hope not (but in case you are, here’s how to hide them.)
The move towards real-time news is designed so that the posts we’re shown are more relevant. So, if you’re watching a TV show and you want to tell all your friends how brilliant it is, they will now be more likely to see your update at the time, rather than six hours after the episode has ended.
So, if the focus is on the here, the now, the right-this-second — where does that leave posts that maybe require a little more thought, or a longer attention span? Things don’t have to be happening in real time in order to be relevant or interesting.
With this Newsfeed update looking like either a combination between Top Stories and Most Recent, or an effort to push trending topics even further, it seems like we’re going to have to get used to seeing the same things discussed over and over. This does happen on Twitter, but as you’re more likely to know your Facebook friends in real life, it becomes a little bit harder to unfriend them.
And, just as Twitter recently came under fire for changes that sound suspiciously like they’re trying to emulate Facebook, maybe Facebook should stop trying to emulate Twitter. If each network is going to borrow the strengths of the other, then they’ll both end up with no strengths at all — and we’ll be left with a bunch of networks that all do the same thing, and none of them particularly well.
While it’s good to learn from your competitors, maybe social networks should stop trying to copy them — they need to be themselves, and do what they do best. For Twitter, that’s connecting people in real time to have conversations about things they care about. With Facebook, it’s allowing people to stalk old friends from high school and send a birthday wish to acquaintances they don’t really care about. Otherwise, they can join MySpace in the social network graveyard.