Can’t find your Facebook ticker? Time to level up your Edgerank!
Facebook was designed to be exponential. In reality, Facebook is a very precise profiling machine. Just think about it; Facebook knows your name, age, hobbies, friends, affinities, and what tattoos you have. They know what you like, everything you comment on, your passions via shares, what your occupation is, when you sleep, and where you are located right now and even when you are traveling, via your smart phone. No one denies it would be a perfect tool for the FBI and the CIA. But we voluntarily welcome this invasion of privacy, because Facebook is also a phenomenon and a novelty. It helps us anesthetize and justify the time we spend online. On the brighter side, Facebook still has many surprises for the world; many patents we’ve yet to experience, many developments in progress and many ideas brewing.
Conceptually, Facebook is designed to be like a good video game, attractive, engaging, and addictive. In a good video game the user experience is enhanced as you unlock treasures and “level up.” Likewise, with Facebook, the higher your “Edgerank” (ER) the more enhanced your user experience can be.
Did you know that when the television was introduced to market, the inventors had already patented color television? They already had color capability but they decided to first saturate the market with black and white technology and then release color TV for a second go around. Pretty clever. Facebook did this too.
One way to further illustrate this is by relating a recent experience. A couple months ago a friend of mine noticed his Facebook ticker was missing. He just had the friends chat window below it. Last night, his wife even posted an update, asking if anyone knew how to get it back. I got into a chat with them. We tried all the mechanics, hide sidebar, unhide this and that but he was not seeing the unhide ticker icon at all (in hindsight, I could have set up a screen share and saved some time). We even logged off Facebook and rebooted computer; still no ticker. So we got on the phone together. I even had him install the newest version of Firefox, hoping that would fix it. That actually did return his chat search bar, so, finally we had a little progress. Then he told me that a couple months ago, he unfriended a boatload of acquaintances and had taken a break on Facebook for a bit.
Blamo! Edgerank. What happened here, I believe, is that his unfriend actions, and then lack of participation, caused his Edgerank to drop so much that the ticker, an enhancement, was algorithmically removed from his page. Not to worry, his page wasn’t broke and he wouldn’t have to delete his account and start over as he was considering. If he wants the ticker back, he just needs to improve his Edgerank.
So, I suppose this post is really about how to improve your Edgerank and level up on Facebook.
I am not an Edgerank “expert” (nothing like my friend Dennis Yu). The way I see it though, Edgerank is to people on Facebook what Pagerank was to pages on Google. I do know that technically, the Edgerank algorithm measures three things, “user affinity,” “weight of content” and “decay over time.” If you would really like to dig into what this means, I’d suggest a search on Google for “How Edgerank Works” and you’ll likely find scholarly documentation. This post is more about the spirit of the topic than the math of the topic.
Every time you read something, look at a picture or watch a video on Facebook, you can react or respond to them in three main ways:
• You can “like” it
• You can “comment” on it
• You can “share” it
When I was younger I successfully engineered a user driven, algorithmic search engine, which was up and serving people for several years. I finally abandoned the project economically. The point is, even as search tech savvy as I am, I do not have any special understanding of the mathematics behind Facebook. However, I do understand this omni-important nature about her, that is, the more you frequent and engage in Facebook the higher your Edgerank score will be and the more robust your gaming experience with her will be.
If I had to make a rough guess about it, a “like” would get you 1 point. A comment (which takes more effort) would get you 1.5 points. A share (which expresses passion or affinity and improves the virality of the item) would get you 2 points. Ultimately, the more points you accumulate, the higher your Edgerank score will become. And, this is a two way street. That is, your engagement helps not only your score but it also helps the person who provided the content to you, which you decided to like, comment on or share. And their engagement with your content helps them as well as you. It’s SOCIAL, cyclical and even perhaps karmic to a degree. If you want to have the most robust experience with Facebook, you’ve got to use it, often and engagingly. And don’t forget that although on the commercial Web “content” may be king, in social media it is “quality” that wins. So post interesting and useful content and you’ll fare well.
In conclusion (to this rant), if you can get over it that every little detail about you is now part of a profile that is accessible to some undisclosed wing of the shadow government, then you can reap the many rewards of Facebook including, but not limited too, becoming more popular, expanding your businesses brand, gaining the trust of consumer prospects, having and discovering lots of friends and getting to stalk them with the ticker feature.
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