Hotel Social Media and Home Blogging
If I want to know how you are doing, I go to your blog. You may not post there anymore; you may be drawn to the quickness of Facebook or Twitter, throwing up your thoughts on various social media sites. So, in that case, I probably don’t know how you’re doing. I’m not being obnoxious and saying, “well, if you’re going to post on Facebook, then I’m not reading what you have to say.” I’m just saying that Facebook controls their algorithm, and chances are, I won’t see your status update at all unless I click over to your wall.
It came out over the weekend that Facebook tweaked their algorithm to control what type of status updates you saw (if you were one of the 700,000 people studied) in order to control your emotions. They wanted to see if they could upset you or make you happy. And you allowed them to do this by accepting their terms of service, which implicitly state that they are allowed to study you. So they studied you. And they found that you could be manipulated.
I, obviously, include myself in that “you” since I am on Facebook.
As The Daily Dot reports:
Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the paper reveals that Facebook conducted a massive experiment to determine the “emotional contagion” effect, by testing whether reducing the number of positive posts you saw on your news feed would make you less happy.
To do this, Facebook tweaked its algorithm to make sure some users saw primarily positive posts, some saw negative posts, and some saw neutral posts in their news feeds. They then waited to see whether the emotional content of the posts in users’ news feeds had any effect on what they subsequently posted.
The result? Yes, it totally does: The researchers, who were from Facebook, Cornell, and the University of California-San Francisco, all revealed that users who saw positive posts in their news feeds were more likely to post positive posts themselves, and those who saw predominantly negative posts were more likely to produce negative content.
The end result: if you felt upset during the time of that study and used Facebook a lot, you may have been made purposefully upset as a social experiment. You may have spent time feeling like shit because some researchers wanted to see if they could make you feel like shit.
I’m not outraged. I’m just… shrugging my shoulders. They’re a jerk who continues to be a jerk, and we continue to date said jerk. So what does that say about us? I mean, at what point does it look ridiculous to sputter, “but he’s such a jerk!” and not leave? Or utilize the site differently?
Facebook is a hotel. I stay in hotels all the time, when it’s to my advantage. When it gives me a place to keep my things when I’m visiting someplace away from home. But I never confuse a hotel with my home. I mean, a hotel is a hotel. People have the right to come in and out of my room at the hotel. I can’t change aspects of the room to suit me in a hotel. I can’t demand new curtains or a different bed. I take what I get when I go in a hotel. When the hotel service is shitty, I complain or when it’s really bad, I don’t go back. But that’s about all I have in my corner; the right to walk.
Whereas my blog is my home. I own my blog because I self-host, but even if you rent your space via free blogging software, you have more control over your space than you do at Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or… every other site. I don’t just put my things there; I make it my own, and I give people a place to find me and communicate with me. You will always see everything I post here because I’m not tweaking an algorithm so you only see some posts and not others.
There are people who find living in a hotel less hassle. Like the George Clooney character in Up in the Air. He didn’t need his own apartment; didn’t have possessions that he needed to keep anywhere except in his suitcase. And that is totally cool.
But if you are not really a live-out-of-a-hotel-room person, then you should not give up your blog. You don’t need to write long posts. YOU CAN MICRO BLOG IN YOUR OWN BLOG SPACE. There is a blogger I used to read who wrote three sentence posts several times a day. That was it: she took the concept of Twitter and utilized it in her own space. Brilliant. It took a few seconds to read her posts. The comments tended to be brief too. But she owned all of it.
I didn’t have to worry about an algorithm keeping some posts from me and giving me others. I saw everything.
I am happy to jump from blog to blog in order to know definitively that I am seeing everything rather than having the flow of information controlled by a third party for their own gain. Facebook has always controlled the flow of information — not just when they’re performing studies on us — making it difficult for people to see what they want to see vs. what Facebook wants them to see. There are pages I’ve favourited that never show up in my feed. And people who are on my Friend list yet their updates never pass over my screen. I am already clicking over to see people’s walls so I can see all of their posts. It would be much easier to have that information appear on their blog and flow into my rss reader.
I’m not giving up my Facebook account, but I don’t post things in that space that I care about. All of those thoughts go here. If you care about people seeing your thoughts, you should post them on your blog too. Because people may see them as they float by on Facebook or Twitter. Or they may not. That’s the problem with hotel living; you’re at the mercy of the hotel owner.
And the hotel owner just proved himself to be a little sadistic.