Embracing the Whispers

When I was at school there were always those people who seemed to be popular for no other reason than them holding peoples attention far more than everyone else. It was a perception of popular often without much merit, the loudest voice or the most prolific. Even though more noticeable, these people were often looked on with slight disdain by those who were not in their immediate circle of friends.

As adults people can look back on those times and think to themselves that they are not those people, that if they have the attention on them then it must be because what they are saying must be attention worthy, right? On the platform of social media this is absolutely wrong as was demonstrated to me just recently after experimenting with a browser plugin known as Facebook Purity.

In a nutshell the plugin allows you take significant control over the content you see on the platform and my reasons for seeking something like this out were many. I am completely uninterested in knowing if a friend commented on the status update of someone not on my friends list, I’m not interested if they joined a group I’m not already in and I am certainly not interested when they become friends with someone I’ve never heard of. Each to their own, but control over what content I’m seeing was important to me and so I installed the plugin. I was amazed at the controls it gave me and I proceeded to filter the noise out, until I came across a setting ‘Force most recent posts’ which stopped Facebook from constantly pushing ‘popular’ content to the top and instead only showed me things in the order they were posted.

Holy shit...

So many interesting and amazing people on my friends list suddenly appeared, people whose posts were slipping through the cracks of Facebooks popularity algorithm simply because they only posted once a day instead of 7-8 times day. Problem is, those who incessantly post garner favour in the popularity code and get regularly pushed to top which in itself fosters higher levels of engagement whilst everyone else disappears into oblivion. In just the last 24 hours I’ve been embracing those lost voices, the humble people who take part but don’t scream, who speak with meaning and not just because they can. I can only hope that one day these kind of controls will be available directly and on all other platforms because if social media is to be an integrated part of the modern world then this is the kind of control we need over it.

Hello my fellow whisperers, I see you now.

Daniel Yates