1. Modified Behavior
Algorithms govern our digital reality.
Everyone is embedded in them regardles of what service you use. Even if you are a spammer polluting peoples inboxes and feeds, you have been rewarded or punished by the algorithms.
Why did we create them?
We believe it was to surface better content.
My question after many years of working with and seeing all the different content types to be seen and all of the spammers' games and tricks is, at what cost?
"There are no solutions, there are only trade-offs". - Thomas Sowell
One thing that people missed early on about implementing algorithms was the behavioral change that would cascade on society.
The social media and video app algos turned creators from all different types of niches, from all over the world, who were doing their own thing, and flattened them and standardized them to where no matter what you were making, the style was the same.
Same editing types, same thumbnails designs, same intros and outros, full of free ads in the form of social media logos. Creators went from creating for themselves to creating for the algos. Creating for themselves was not an option that would compete. People can still create what they want really, but you have to behave a certain way for the algo to pick it up. Algos didn't just change our content, they chande us. And they reward and punish all the behavior you see online.
2. "Most Of The Internet Is Hidden"
This is a sentence that has spun in my mind for years the more I worked with content. Something that my peers and supervisors also missed.
We say that algorithms are used to surface content, but it's quite the opposite. It is used to hide most of the content that ever gets published. And your content will never see the light of day unless you meet the standards of the people who design the algos.
Do a google search and the videos that appear at the top are from YouTube. This is by design. Your cool video on Joystream on the same topic will be on page 50 of those results. When was the last time you went past the first page of a google search? Everything is hidden.
Obviously, people don't have the time nor the patience to comb through every piece of content that gets uploaded to find something they want to watch and some sort of algo IS required to serve people better content. But who decides on the specs that algorithm? This is a question to be raised.
Now a days people are more aware of their recommendation algorithms and are able to "hack" them so that it throws them into a new rabbit hole of their choice. And in that sense you may be able to see content that you would have never seen had you not gone down that specific rabbit hole. But it's still hiding most of the content.
You like one user's video and it will give you 10-50 vids of that user before it shows you something else or you start disliking that user or go into a different rabbithole or niche. Those are all missed opportunities for other content to surface. Other creators to be discovered. Other new ideas to be spread. The trade-off of liking something on social media is seeing less of other things.
3. Decentralize The Algos
Returning to the question of: who decides what the algo does for you?
Some people that have put some thought into this believe that it should be you. Your social media profile should have an algo section full of toggles and properties that you, the user, should be able to control. Turn on and off, or simply put it on auto and let the app do it for you if you so choose.
As a user, getting granular on what the algo does for you is something that should be available. Being able to tell the algo " Don't show me more than 2 vids of the same user per day" is something that you as a user should be able to control. "Don't show me content from people I don't follow" or viceversa "Show me mostly content from people I don't follow". These should all be options for the users, not a small team of people in a room somehwere building an algo based on their preferences.
Mute buttons, block content types, exclude or include categories, frequency, max number posts you'd like to see in a day if you want to control for your content diet, exclude content with paid advertising, likes don't affect my algo, prioritize new uploads, prioritize favorites, create a hierarchy of prioritizations, etc. These are all toggles or levers that you should be able to turn on and off at your own will. You design your algo.
That way, people don't have to create to "hack" any specific algorithm. They can go back to creating for themselves and let people really choose what content they engage with.
4. Baby Steps
It is understood that building something like this would be very complexe. I'm non-technical so I can't even think about how something like this can be accomplished. Now that we have all these new AI models it may not even be necessary, I don't know.
Baby steps. Start with just a few toggles available for the users. Simple stuff that users can view or hide and slowly roll out more granularity.
Then maybe, we can unhide some of the safe and consumable parts of the internet that have been punished by the centralized algos.
Keep in mind that there are no solutions, only trade-offs. This will have it's own set of problems and behavior changes that cannot be predicted.
Thank you for reading 🙏❤️
All images created using Bing AI.
#web3 #socialmedia #algorithms #web3nomad #contentcreators