Why I left algorithm-based social media and what happened next
This is a blog adaptation of a recent 15-minute talk I was asked to do at an Ambition Empower event. Having noticed that I am no longer on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn people are naturally curious as to my reasoning and how this works for a small business owner. At the very end I’ve addressed some questions that came up and shared my thoughts on. You will also find links to tools and resources. I’d certainly enjoy giving this talk again, and in a longer format.
In 2017 a woman by the name of Caryn told this story. She had a friend who died. And she did not know, because of algorithms. Let’s call him Adam. Adam had fallen terminally ill and passed away within a timeframe of a few months. A mutual friend reached out to Caryn to ask her if she was aware that Adam had died. She was not.
An avid Facebook user, Caryn visited Adam’s Facebook page. They had met in-person once, but mostly interacted online for more than 15 years. She found a post he had made a month earlier, explaining his situation as he was in hospital. Caryn and several other people she reached out to had never seen this post.
Caryn understood what had happened. Because Adam did not post much, he mostly just liked and commented, the algorithm did not value his post enough. It chose to not show it to a number of his friends.
But she also realised what this could have meant for Adam. He may have passed away thinking that none of his online friends cared.