Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crowd sourcing comes through again

I have written below about the incredible power of crowd sourcing, using the reach and scope of social networking on the Internet to solve a complex problem. Here's a play-by-play about a difficult question. It demonstrates how the asynchronous participation of many participants inevitably converges on the right answer in less than 24 hours. You just have to be patient and let the truth emerge.

I posted the following problem on Facebook:

Query -- what makes some Facebook status updates stay put on the top of your page until cleared, while others appear as one-time updates?
(Yesterday at 12:22pm.)

Luba:
I think it's an algorithm that has to do with how often you comment on other people's posts. Facebook tries to be smart about which people you actually care about seeing. I often find it wrong and look at both top stores and most recent to get a full picture of what is going on.

Me:
No, I mean that it stays at the top of your profile page -- sometimes.

Kim:
I think if you go to your home page and write on your wall (as opposed to the "feed" page), it stays up as your status until you change it.

Me:
Nope, it only persists when I post it from the profile page, but then not always. It is inconsistent.

Beverly:
My daughter's answer to these kinds of questions was always, "That's just FB being weird." Evidently they have their quirks.

Eileen:
Do the updates have links (i.e., to other web sites)? Those show up in the news feed but won't get posted like a FB status update on your profile page. Your previous status will remain if a newer post has any kind of link attached to it.

Amy:
I think Beverley's daughter has the answer. FB is both quirky and weird.

Isabel:
Like Eileen, I thought it was links v. no links...

Cal:
There are two buttons at the top center of your News Feed page - Top News and Most Recent. Click on Most Recent and the feeds will be in chrono order.

Me:
That's not the question. Sorry if not clear. The Q is what makes a status change show up at the top of the profile page and stay there?

Beverly:
I just posted a status update with a link and it never went to the top of my profile page. I think the link people are right - link (or photo?), it doesn't go there, no link, it goes to the top and stays. Evidence-based Facebook. (:

Rob:
It has to do with how hard you strike the keys on your computer. Gentle pushes fade much quicker. (Today at 7:48am)

7 comments:

e-Patient Dave said...

I went through the same question a few months ago. Some friends and I tested the link/no-link hypothesis, and it's MOSTLY right.

As I recall (too lazy to test again), if you use the link button, your update is never the top thing. But in some circumstances if you just paste in a link, it does stay up there.

I didn't track it down farther.

Will be interested to see if others have nailed it more.

Paul Levy said...

But Dave, the true answer emerged at the end!

e-Patient Dave said...

Can't tell if you're being amusing (how hard you push the keys) or straight (your next-to-last response matched mine).

Except I HAVE seen cases where a status update DID have a link, and went to the top.

Whatever. On this subject, as on the original, I've had enough. :)

Paul Levy said...

Both. Thanks for catching the intentional ambiguity.

Anonymous said...

So, incorporating Dave's additional evidence of inconsistency, the TRUE answer is actually: "it's just FB being weird."
(:

nonlocal

pipulu said...

Interesting post. It works like statistic. By reading the comments i think FB is being random to be fair.

shilpa said...

Thanks for catching the intentional ambiguity. It is very satisfied. Thanks for your info.

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