Have you seen those recommendations for people who you might know on Facebook? They’re mixed in with the adverts as a list of names with a small photograph and, sometimes, they are reasonably accurate. Based on those who you already know, the Facebook algorithm takes a small selection and encourages you to add more names to your Friends List. And that despite the fact that there is a limit to how many friends you are allowed and, more especially, a limit to the number of real life friends / acquaintances you have outside of the social network.
One face which cropped up a few times on several of the exceptionally rare occasions when I went to see if I could find something on Facebook, was this one. Perhaps he is familiar to a few of you? He is to me, but I would never call him a Friend, and never consider either adding him – or asking to be added since it is a mutual thing – or even following him.
Screenshot Source: Facebook
With only thirty-three million followers, I can understand why his name and image appear on my suggestions panel; clearly he is feeling a lack in attention from the craving masses, from those whose lives he has so influenced, whose social network he has expanded with that small idea all those years ago in Harvard.
Why should I want to follow him? Is there something in his private which could be of real interest to me? Something which might influence my life, mundane and ordinary as it is? I don’t think so.
Perhaps it is the fact that only thirty-three million follow him, out of so many who are claimed to be active on Facebook, so many who are registered. Why doesn’t everyone follow him? Why aren’t all of the registered users basking in the light of his status updates? More to the point: how can he have so many people following him, when there are limits to the number of friends for everyone else? Perhaps it isn’t the same thing, having followers and having friends. But if I did follow him, would some of the people he knows, those who have made it to his Friends List be suggested as possibilities for me, or for anyone else out there?
And, finally, did he pay for this promotion to those he does not know and who would not normally be picked out by the Facebook algorithm, or is the business rule of getting as much out of the service through hefty payments not applicable here?
- Viktoria Michaelis