On social media, do you “like” what you hear? Or could it be that you hear what you “like”? The online world in general, and social media, in particular, has become a system that seems to exist to sustain its own opinions – an echo chamber of sorts where one hears exactly what one is looking to hear. This is by design, not by accident – the business model of these megabrands demands that they serve users what is more likely to make then spend more time on the site. What is popular is believed to be true, and with enough money and effort, anything can become popular. So, is it all doom and gloom on the social front?
Facebook’s new update may be the ray of hope the online world is looking for. In many ways, the allegations of “fake news” and manipulative content seem to hurt Facebook more than it does most. This is a network that claims to give people the power to build communities to bring the world closer together. Going by the public pronouncements of Mark Zuckerberg about the new update, Facebook seems to be stepping away from what is “relevant” to their users to what is “meaningful” to them. They acknowledge that this will make users spend less time on the site – but that the time they do spend will mean much more. This is a radical thought but clearly aligned with the values the brand stands for. Zuckerberg says, “we can help make sure that Facebook is time well spent.” – and that is clearly the voice of reason.