Damn you, Facebook…Stop Playing with Me!

Schu’s Bottom Line:  As you likely have heard by now, the Social Media juggernaut known as Facebook was spending a lot of research time to find a connection between what we see on our Time Lines/News Feeds and how we feel.

Here’s what happened:   689,000 unaware people had their news feeds switched up for one week.  These Data Bounty Hunters wanted to see the influence of more positive or negative emotions.  By all accounts, it appears we are ‘statistically’ influenced by what they did.

First, this entire project got under way more than 2 years ago.   Facebook’s been manipulating the news feeds for a long time.  What did they do? They piled up mostly negative posts, and then mostly positive ones.  Never at the same time.  It took place over the course of a week.

My question is this:  do the folks at Facebook really think emotions sparked by visual cues are the same as physical/in person cues? Do they believe they can replicate the contagious vibes of a positive or negative person?  Personally, I’ve never bought into the ‘judge a person’ by the day they’re having.   We often hear sales-speakers and motivators talk about signals like ‘smiles’, ‘positive posture’, ‘eye contact’, etc.  What is NEVER accounted for is – what is the other person dealing with?  Do they have one job? Two or more?  Did they have a death in the family?  Better yet – is this unsmiling, negative feeling person so focused on his/her jobs that I might want to be communicating later? Judging less? Be focused more on my own day, rather than someone else’s?  Maybe toss visual judgements out the window here, Facebook.  They’re old school.

New Scientist Magazine blew this research up.  Essentially people were somewhat more likely to use positive words in Facebook posts if they had been exposed to fewer negative posts throughout the week, and vice versa.   (Really?  How is that NOT obvious?  Environment and Psychology have ALWAYS been connected.  Why would it be different on a social network? I don’t get the point of it, then again, it doesn’t effect me or my thoughts on my friends in my circle.  A bad day is JUST a bad day.   Same with a good day.  I don’t judge people unless they are judging me.  Is that too simplistic?)

In the end, who cares?  We all signed up for this.  It started in a University dorm room.  Did anyone think the ‘show was over’ when the billions started rolling in?  This is about a dream for the Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world.  They want to push the envelope.  So would you.  We all agreed to the privacy policies.  (The one we never read).

Schu’s Thought Starters:

Does this change your opinion about using Facebook?
Do you think this could somehow enhance your Facebook experience?
Or is it just creepy?