Facebook: Using It’s Data For Good

In class, we broke down the 5 categories of activity on Facebook that the Harvard Business’ Case study had provided. Professor Kane’s insight on what Facebook’s most important activity was in order for them to stay valuable really resonated with me. It’s integration with other platforms, or advertising, is important but if it takes over Facebook, people will no longer use it or at least enjoy using it. Facebook needs us to continue posting pictures, statuses, videos, etc. in order to stay relevant even though sometimes we feel like Fat Amy when our News Feeds become a little overwhelming.

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Facebook isn’t relying on us making new connections- because let’s be honest we only really connect with people we already know (or know of) because #strangerdanger. There are direct relationships with other apps or interfaces as there is the option to log in with Facebook- but let’s be honest, they need Facebook. Facebook doesn’t need them!

And of course there is the stalking… stalkingFacebook knows we search for people, events, and trends but that is heavily dependent on us finding what we want to look at…  Same goes with interacting. We will comment, message, and like things that we enjoy looking at so this leads to the most important category of activity for Facebook: display. If people do not post photos, provide content, articles, or videos then none of the other categories of activities even matter or happen at all.

People won’t find value in searching if there isn’t new content to be looked at and people don’t enjoy looking at the same thing over and over, so new content is absolutely necessary for Facebook to keep their users active and happy while using their interface.”

New content allows us to stalk our “frenemies” and exes and it also lets us prove to those people and ourselves that we are active, social, and have friends. :O Some of the time it is an accurate portrayal of our lives but most of the time it is the curated piece of “art” that we carefully select in order to portray ourselves how we want to be perceived by others. This may mean filters, cropping, and posting the 6th version of the same photo just because your smile looks a little less forced in that one- I may or may not be speaking from experience :/. But this deserves its own blog.

Speaking of new content, there is also that good,old content. And although Facebook is entirely dependent on its ~2 Billion Users posting content every day, old content still has its value every once in a while. There are TBTs or Flashback Fridays, Women Crush Wednesdays, etc. etc. With these crazy trends that have an approximate and an unconfirmed beginning in 2012, Facebook created their own feature “On This Day” to repurpose that content, put it together in a nice presentation and get you one step closer to posting that TBT, Friendaversary, etc. To ensure more interaction, guaranteed content, etc.

I don’t know about you but I have a love/hate relationship with Facebook’s Memories. There are many reasons for this. As a young tween, I lied about my age to get on Facebook and looking back there was no need for me to be on there anyways because less than 10 of my real friends had a profile… (network effects!) But also my immaturity proves that I shouldn’t have been on there. Check out this status I once shared… but before you read it understand that I am willingly providing ammo to judge me, but I hope you can look beyond this “troubled” girls’ immaturity and just laugh WITH me instead of AT me.

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Obviously, I was horrified when that came up on my memories. I swore I was cooler than that, but hey it was freshman year of high school. I tell myself before I go to sleep that a friend “hacked” my Facebook and wrote that as a joke instead of me consciously typing that in all seriousness so that I don’t have nightmares about all the other horrifying things I have said. But alas, we are here laughing (and cringing) about it now. Here is another just to add to the fun..

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FYI, I’m really grateful the writing a status trend went out of style because I would have many many more to share. I hope I’m not the only one who is embarrassed of themselves. So, this is an example of me hating Facebook Memories for showing me how big of a loser I am. BUT I also love Facebook Memories because I can laugh at myself and be grateful for how far (or little tbh) I have come in 6 years.

Despite crying most of the time I see some sappy status or photo, I sometimes thoroughly enjoy being reminded what I was doing 6 years ago with my best friends from high school. It’s hilarious to see what I thought was fashionably “in” and it is great to be reminded of how fun Friday night football games were and those lifelong memories and friendships I have created over my lifetime. But most of the time I still hate Facebook Memories, I don’t need to be reminded that my ex and I went to our Senior Homecoming four years ago.. (whoa! Getting old). old

I know Facebook doesn’t know if my breakup was a good one or a nasty one but I’m sure they have the data to know who and who I’m not hanging out with anymore. I’ve heard rumors that they are creating new algorithms to create a more catered and individual news feed. Maybe they’ll figure out that I don’t want to see my ex-boyfriend’s family photo or my ex-best friend’s dog that I honestly miss more than her… Hoping Facebook will start to use the incredible amounts of data to ensure a better experience on my news feed and Facebook Memories!

 

6 comments

  1. I personally have noticed more of these “Memories” popping up on my Newsfeed recently, and although I occasionally will see new pictures posted on Facebook, I can tell that Facebook is struggling to keep Newsfeed relevant to users who want to see their friends’ pictures. Not only does Facebook want us to repost regenerated photos/statuses/friendships, but they also want us to use the app/website for longer periods of time through interesting and cute-sy videos that also clog our feeds. With more people regularly posting user-generated content on Instagram, I wonder if Facebook will slowly shift from being known for pictures to news and video content.

  2. I would not be surprised if Facebook started to use data to make our news feeds a little more personalized. I have already noticed that Facebook will more heavily advertise friendaversaries and birthdays for people that I connect with more often. They definitely have the technology so I bet it will only be a matter of time until they expand this personalization to news feeds as well.

  3. This is a great post, but I am surprised you ended it on the note that you hope Facebook will use the incredible amounts of data they have to improve News Feed and Memory. I think this falls on the “cool or creepy” scale that we discussed when we talked about Facebook in class. I know for me personally, I would prefer Facebook to do less digging into my data, even if it comes at the expense of some of these features. I have, however, accepted that Facebook using the data I put on there as something that is out of my control at this point. All in all this is an awesome post, and the flashbacks to 2011 are unfortunately all too relatable.

  4. Memories is an interesting addition to Facebook that I’m sure is part of their awareness of how important original content is. I’m not sure if its just my own experience, but there seems to be a trend of fewer posts of user content on Facebook – potentially only in our generation but this trendy must be scary for Facebook. The memories must be part of a way to pull people into the spiral of generating content – no matter how embarrassing the content might be a few years down the road.

  5. Nice post. Hadn’t considered the implications of the “memories” features for younger users. For me, it usually brings up pics of my kids when they were younger, which always makes me nostalgic.

  6. Awesome post! I was also really young when I joined Facebook and am increasingly reminded of that fact with memories constantly popping up. Our generation was the first one to “grow up with” Facebook, so I think the memories feature is going to have an effect on us years to come. We have all shared so much of our lives on the platform it that by the time we are 30, it will have an extensive ‘timeline’ of our lives. I always wonder (and fear) that if Facebook is relevant for that long, will mine future kids will be able to see everything I did as a teenager?

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