Beware the mind-controlling algorithm
Beware the mind-controlling algorithm.
When it comes to professional growth and development, allow me to urge you not to depend solely on algorithms developed by your favorite social media platforms of choice. Even if these algorithms are rooted in your previous behavior and seemingly provide you with an acceptable amount of content that piques your interest, and keeps you adequately informed, I find it dangerous. Yes dangerous. Here’s why.
Dependence on newsfeeds can cause you to stop actively seeking out information from sources that are not being shared by the people in your network. It may not happen overnight, but it does happen. Before you know it, you’ll be depending on a single source and missing a lot.
Even if the content has been shared, you have no control over whether or not it is served to you through the feed. We all know there are factors that put content in your feed such as high levels of engagement like comments and shares. We all see those posts with hundreds of comments. Sometimes the content isn’t even worth it in my opinion – but the engagement puts it in the feed whether we value or even like it.
Keep in mind that social networks are a business. It behooves them to showcase their ability to drive user activity and then showcase all of that engagement to yield even more. ‘Number of active users’ and ‘time spent’ are key metrics. Think about how LinkedIn tells you about specific posts and asks you to respond. They’re not doing that because you’re special. It’s to drive up the numbers.
You are likely missing a lot by not visiting your favorite websites or subscribing to newsletters that bring the news directly to your inbox. Yes, the content in the newsletter is curated, but there’s no algorithm that determines whether or not you actually receive the emails you signed up for. You sign up, you get it.
Scrolling through feeds has become a staple in our everyday lives and the feed can bring some great content our way. But it’s taking something too, and I want you to take it back. That something could be include selectivity, independent thinking, and maybe even curiosity.
My advice is simple. Don’t depend exclusively on a newsfeed. You deserve more. Be sure to diversify your sources of news and information and especially your sources of professional development. Just be a little more thoughtful. Don’t give up on newsletter subscriptions and smart content aggregators that serve you and fuel your need for growth. Podcasts, news websites, news aggregators – of your own choosing are a critical component of growing you.
Just don’t settle for the newsfeed and it’s big boss, the algorithm. They may not have your very best interest at heart. In fact, I’m almost sure of it.