Social media’s transformation over the years

Social media’s transformation over the years

These days I find myself, somewhat unconsciously, viewing more videos on Facebook than YouTube. This is something that Facebook has been pushing for some time. While my TV time has drastically reduced, this hasn’t meant an overall decline in passive content consumption. In fact, the infinite choice of “channels” on popular social media is a much worse problem than regular TV. In the last few days, I have been viewing snippets of a large number of movies, cooking shows, travel vlogs, sitcoms and other stuff too varied to list.

The algorithm is interesting because it keeps circulating content and tries to serve up videos of the same genre that I was watching earlier. And then suddenly it resets and serves up an entirely new set of videos. There is a strong urge to keep on swiping for more interesting stuff since the recommendation list is bottomless. Oh, and did you notice those sneaky little adverts/“sponsored” videos that keep getting inserted between the regular content? A few years ago my brother wrote on social media’s negative impact on his blog. It’s a somewhat lengthy read but well worth the effort. He specifically notes that social media companies are discovering increasingly ingenious ways to hook users, one of them being “rabbit hole recommendations”.((I’m sure it’s totally unrelated to the fact that advertising has got more intrusive and ubiquitous.😒)) While I rarely use social media for personal updates of late, I must plead guilty to being a passive content consumer.

One thing is clear though: big tech social media has moved from being user-centric to content-centric and finding ingenious ways to grab our time and attention and generate revenue. We are the product after all.

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