023 - 18. A Byte's Paradox
Part III-F: The Algorithm (continued)
Have you ever been in a quick sand situation...ya know...where the more you struggle to get out, the deeper and deeper you end up? Once the wave has subsided, have you ever thought back to the moment or chain of events that led the paradox loop to break? Thinking about it could almost create a paradox in and of itself! ...I don't want to lose you in thought just yet.
The brain is an actual super computer... hell, the concept of a computer started with an idea in the brain, so I guess it makes sense that it poses some sense of resemblance.
When you find yourself in an infinite thought loop, the snap back to reality is what breaks the cycle. Even now as I am writing this post, my mind is gearing up for the next sentence. It takes the urge for a sip of my coffee to break the chain and reset the thought process...hold that thought...ahh. So since our mind is the model for a computer program, Facebook included, is it safe to say that the same chain can be broken by simply snapping the thought process? It's not as simple...
Think back to previous posts in Part III of this series. We discussed that Facebook's algorithm is not only designed to process input information, but also to output content to users based on a mathematical prediction of behaviors. If the algorithm is accurate in its predictions, then new users will constantly feed input into a given post. Collectively, all users who engage help continue this infinite paradox...and just when you think it's over...it starts right back up again.
I'm going to give a specific example of this using my own experience. Roughly 10 years ago, I was very much involved in the Miami Running Community. I was introducing a consumer packaged good to the running market and thought the best way to brand the item would be to gorilla market on the ground. This strategy was extremely effective...so much so...that people began to associate the brand with me! Over time, as people began to become religious buyers of the product, they would tag me in their social media posts as it related to their use of the product. This would spark a conversation among the Miami running community and others (whom I also knew) would share their experiences and feedback about using the product. As time continued, more tags came in...both product related and non-product related. Some were as simple as a morning photo before a long run. As is the case with many posts...they ultimately get buried by more recent posts and the engagement becomes smaller and smaller. Facebook's algorithm began to notice this...and had to do something about it! Cue the "MEMORY" posts.
In order to continue a paradox, the loop must remain closed and users must be locked into the engagement bubble. What better way to reignite that loop and lock everyone back in than a memory? Facebook would repost the same image from years back on each users wall who was either in the post or engaged with it in some way. This simple act is not designed for you to take a trip down memory lane...perhaps think how fat you are now compared to that time...or what awful clothing choices you thought were 'in'...no no. The purpose is to reengage comments, likes, shares and tags. Users are not only inclined to reengage with the post...but also reflect on all the engagements that were there years ago.
So, I ask the question again...is it possible to break a Byte's paradox by simply shutting off the thought process? I would argue no...because Facebook is learning how to channel our thoughts while using their platform. Creepy...