Many people have noticed that they’re missing the posts they’d like to see on Facebook. This is because Facebook has implemented an algorithm for “Top Stories” that uses their version of what you want to see instead of yours.
This algorithm is heavily influenced by “likes” from people in your social network, but it’s also biased toward content that you are more likely to interact with, favouring Pages updates with images over text-only ones (see Socialmedia Today).
There are several problems with this. Most critically the algorithm can bury the human interactions that attracted people to Facebook in the first place; a closed cycle of “likes” can cause a news feed to become more and more focused on a single viewpoint by not displaying information that challenges “liked” content; and pages you are interested in may never show up if your network doesn’t share the same interest.
Facebook offers a “most recent” sort order that looks like it will address this, but that too is broken. First, it’s most recent activity on a post, so if someone adds a comment to something originally posted in 2010, there it is at the top of your feed. Second, it’s still filtered for things you’re likely to interact with!
But the good news is it can be fixed, at least until the folks at Facebook determine that too many of us are using it and find a rationale for turning it off: Interest Lists. This is how you set it up:
On the left hand side of the web interface you’ll see a little-noticed heading for “Interests”. click on “Add Interests”.
This will take you to a page that lists a number of preset interests. But up in the upper right of the centre column, there’s a “Create list” button:
Click on everything you want to actually see. Each selected page will be highlighted with a box and a check mark. Tip: this is a great time to not select all those pages that you have no interest in but felt compelled to like because a friend sent you an invite; they’ll never know.
Do the same with the Following and Friends lists, then press Next. There’s no way to do a select all, so this can take some time. This gives you the save panel. Give your list a name, set the visibility to “only me” (unless you want to see which friends/pages you ignored; probably not a good thing).
Now your new list shows up in the “Interests” section. Click on it, and voila! You now have a Facebook that reflects your interests, not the posts that make them the most money.
Props to my long time friend Mark Leenders for discovering this technique!
Holy crap. I just discovered that in a digital era, relying on gatekeepers of reproduction to earn a living is impossible. People told me that being an independent writer / artist / musician / developer was going to be a tough way to earn a living, but still I held to my parent’s paradigm and somehow believed I’d get paid for every single physical copy of my work ever made. Now it turns out that I don’t stand a hope of being as rich as Stephen King / Picasso / Paul McCartney / Bill Gates, and that even to earn a subsistence living I need to find a new model for delivering value. But instead of dealing with this I will demand that you pay me for using recordable media for your own creative works, I’ll demand that we revert to an impossible outmoded system, while still begging you to send me money and whining that it’s not fair. I refuse to take responsibility for following my dreams / muse / passion instead of getting a job like everyone else. My failure to adapt is your problem, not mine!
With very few exceptions, I’m opposed to capital punishment. In my book, murder is murder, whether it’s committed by individuals or the state.
In this case, the convicted are being used as an example, in hopes that the severity of the punishment will change the behaviour of others, and shift the culture of violence. That’s a good thing. It will very likely save more innocent lives than the cost of the four convicted. This makes it not a moral decision, not an issue of justice for the victims, but an issue of body count mathematics and of cultural shock therapy.
Throughout the world, women don’t have anything resembling equality with men, be it violent rape in India or malicious Internet based harassment in North America. Numerous more gentle efforts seem to improve the situation in one aspect, but not prevent the development of new avenues for discrimination and harassment. We fix mechanisms but changing the culture remains an elusive, distant goal.
In this context, the decision to execute these four young men may very well be the right one. That doesn’t mean it isn’t troubling in many ways. Not only is the use of state sanctioned murder difficult to accept, it is more that this blunt instrument appears to be the only effective tool. This above all demonstrates our inadequacy when it comes to making women an equal part of society. More than sixty years after the wave of post-WWII feminism, and we’re still not past this.
There’s no lack of evidence to show that there are people in the world who think that an appropriate response to the misdeeds of the West is to bring the death and destruction back and throw it in our faces. I fail to understand this logic of revenge, but unfortunately there are many who embrace it. Humanity has a long history on the failure of using evil to counter evil, but we never seem to convert this knowledge into wisdom.
This might be surprising, but because of this I’m not entirely opposed to governments communications surveillance for security reasons, even the communications of their own citizens – after all most acts of terror come from hateful people within our culture, not from the stereotypes the media is so enamoured with. (more…)
By now, just about everyone has heard about Marissa Mayer’s first big public move as newly-minted CEO of Yahoo, Inc.: no more remote work, issuing a directive that all remote employees need to show up at a physical Yahoo office.
This has resulted in a storm of criticism from journalists, armchair-CEO’s, and remote workers around the world (including me). (more…)
One has to give LinkedIn credit for trying to be more than just a network of vague business connections. They have a difficult challenge: Investors and advertisers value them more on membership numbers than on the quality of the connections in the network, yet the quality of the network is the primary value for those members. (more…)
For the past few years, the leading edge of online marketing has been “content marketing”. As advertising becomes increasingly ineffective at driving sales, and as most lead generation tends to come via search engines, marketers have figured out how to produce content that ranks well in search, which brings traffic, which converts to sales/revenue/whatever.
The problem is that as more and more people buy into this, there has been a subtle change. Now the industry is engaging in “marketing content” rather than “content marketing”. The result is a flood of low quality content. Ten thousand blogs, all rehashing the same information in slightly different ways. So much duplication and plagiarism that it’s impossible to tell who had an original idea, if anyone. (more…)
I’ve spent a good part of the holidays trying to reconcile the over-saturation in my life. Of the large number of things I’d like to be doing, I’m coming up against the realization that I’m attempting to do too many of them. The result is a spectrum of underachievement. (more…)
Let me start this with full disclosure. Although I am not a member of the wine writing community, I have close ties to it. I have a business relationship with two of the writers who have complained about theft of their content, and I know several more personally. Additionally I have business and personal relationships with several small wineries and winemakers.
I’m also a wanna-be writer, although not in the field of wine journalism, or more accurately in the field of writing about wine. I say that because calling some of this “journalism” would be an insult to the word, even the watered-down definition that has emerged in the Internet age.
Natalie MacLean stands accused of appropriating wine reviews from other writers, reproducing excerpts without permission or acknowledgement. The details can be found on this article from Palate Press. Interestingly, another set of allegations emerges in the comments, but that’s for others to pursue. (more…)
Conservatives typically look to shrink the role of the state. Their favourite tool of choice is the reduction of revenues through tax cuts. The theory appears to be that a reduction in tax revenue will lead to the elimination of the services that are not essential to the operation of the state. This is in many ways a perverse application of the principles of the free market system. Not only does it not work as planned, it frequently results in structural budgetary deficits.
Liberals tend to look at increasing the role of the state. They see the state as a tool for ensuring the well being of the populace. Their favourite tool of choice is the introduction of new services or regulations, with a corresponding increase in revenue from taxation. The theory appears to be that centralized management can be efficient. This is in many ways wilful ignorance of the merits of the free market system. Not only does it not work as planned, unbridled growth of taxation is an impediment to economic growth.
By and large, that’s a capsule summary of politics in the West. Two diametrically opposed, equally incorrect, deeply flawed models for government, alternately taking control of the apparatus of the state, making a set of ill-informed changes before being turfed out by dissatisfied voters to let the other side repeat the process from the opposite perspective.
This is an unstable system that will never reach equilibrium.
The fundamental issue is one of semantics. So let’s start with an axiom: nobody enjoys paying taxes. Aside from extremists who either envision a magic state that functions in the absence of revenue or an equally improbable state that functions in the absence of variable rewards for variable work/value, most of us accept that some level of taxation is inevitable. The problem is that we think about taxes in absolute terms — usually as a percentage of our income or assets. It seems to be that both liberals and conservatives could find a lot more common ground if the discussion was framed in terms of Return on Taxation, much like business measures Return on Investment.
Surely everyone, left or right, wants to ensure that their tax dollars are used to achieve the greatest value.
While it is true that this approach will generate ongoing argument on which methods should be used to arrive at a measurement of “return”, my suspicion is that liberals and conservatives will find that when viewed through the lens of value, their policies will be less divergent. In an ideal scenario, we can focus our efforts on getting more value per tax dollar and adopt more rational — and stable — policies.
The left and right seem to find it increasingly difficult to find common ground, but it is only by doing so that a democratic system can function effectively. Let’s make Return on Taxation the objective we all share.