All social network homophily algorithms!
This is how it really works. Please don’t replicate.
I enjoy the DIY experience. It promotes genuine serendipity. FastCompany’s Facebook-praising article (17 May 2012) does NOT describe what I consider serendipity:
Back in the late ’90s, with the arrival of sites like Amazon and Google, we bemoaned the loss of serendipity. The web was now a place where you had to know what you were looking for in order to find anything. The social network is helping shift the balance back toward discovery… it’s also making discovery possible on other sites, by giving those sites tools that let their visitors filter content by Facebook friends, e.g Yahoo that integrated with Facebook to let you see what your friends are reading on its news sites, or design store Fab, which allows you to browse a feed of items that your friends are buying and favoriting. The result is that the web is increasingly a place for serendipity, facilitated by Facebook and your friends.
Read the Disqus comments following the article. I did. Most were in agreement with me. It seems a false distinction that FastCompany makes, claiming that
“searching gives way to discovering”
That is, searching with Google was bad, but using the internet with the input from one’s social graph, as guided along by Facebook, is now “discovering”, which is good, an improvement. I think not. It is more like an intrusive invasion of privacy, to me.
So. I embarked on my little adventure, and realized to what extent my behavior was reflected by the FastCompany article. Yes, I do use Twitter. No, I don’t use Facebook nor have any suggested search options enabled in Chrome browser when I search on Google (there is plenty of tracking and nudging in place already, I realize…). I want to do things my way, without algorithm driven input from “friends” facilitated by Facebook tracking! I use Twitter or other tidbits of information as I choose. Or disregard entirely. I am sure there are behavioral effects a-plenty already, from even the non-Facebook services I use.
Anyway, this is how it went.
I read a pleasant post about English grammar, Indefinite Articles: A versus An on a blog with the subtitle “Cloud Security Infrastructure Architecture”, making it an especially welcome treat! I left a comment, which is what I am referring to above, as real, or natural, or even organic serendipity. A (very slightly modified) excerpt of my comment follows.
“Your post is accurate. It was a pleasure to read. Good job! Grammar and usage deities and demigods (and perhaps demagogue’s) will commend you for your efforts to maintain and uphold Free and Open Standards of communication, accessible to all!
In case you are curious, or even if you aren’t, I found my way here via the blog of a Lanier, Zach [@quine] who follows you. Is he related to Jared Lanier? Zach lives in Brooklyn, or so he says, and I know that Jared’s father grew up on or near Bleeker Street in Manhattan. I grew up in the same town as Jared and his father taught me at Hebrew school, well Sunday school, not on Bleeker Street though! Somewhere very far west and south of there.
I found @quine because:
- I was looking at a paper posted on Twitter[PDF!!!] via @ioerror, who I only knew as someone who took happy photos on Flickr, for a long time, and
- the paper was by EDIT a group in France, HOWEVER, @ioerror’s subsequent Twitter update was about an open source security company called @subgraph and seems interesting, see slides about their security product, Using and Extending Vega and
- I decided to follow @attractr the leader or owner or founder of Subgraph the company and
- Twitter then suggested that I follow @msuiche if I like @attractr’s content and
- when I looked at @msuiche (who works for Microsoft Security, ironically, maybe), Twitter suggested young Zach, the proprietor of HipsterGenocide dot com, who follows your blog, thus bringing me here, to this delightfully grammatical post!”