You may have already heard from other authors like Kevin Hearne (1|2) or tycoons like Mark Cuban that changes are afoot at Facebook. (Slate featured an article on the topic, as well.) The quick and dirty version is that when we used to make a post on FB, everyone that liked our pages would get to see that post. Now, if sources near and far are to be believed, only 15% of my audience do. If I wish to reach the once usual 100%, I must pay, and pay a lot. There is some variability to this phenomena due to a master algo called EdgeRank, which, if I understand it correctly, functions not unlike the social ecosystem found in a high school cafeteria. Receive enough votes and you are awarded a seat at the popular table. Receive too few, and you are left debating Timothy Zahn continuity errors with me in the corner.
But the true purpose of this post is not to moan and groan. It is to draw attention to an incredibly insightful post by Dalton Caldwell, a reasonably well known entrepreneur in Silicon Valley. In this post, Mr. Caldwell outlines his vision as to where Facebook is headed—and it's a mind trip. Here's just a tiny snippet:
Facebook newsfeed is an embodiment of our war on noise. We depend on the newsfeed optimizer to protect our limited attention span, and as a consequence, Facebook gets to choose what stories we do and don’t see, just as Google chooses which search results we do and don’t see. Conceptually, this seems very lucrative: Facebook is auctioning off our limited attention span to the highest bidder, as long as the bidder has a candidate newsstory to promote.
This is what Like-gate is about.I encourage you to read his post in its entirety here.
Disclosure: Mr. Caldwell is presently developing a competing social media platform called www.app.net. You can see him outlining his company's core values here. I have to do a bit more due diligence, but I'll probably be joining within the week.