> Engagement around conflict works at all age ranges though.
I've noticed that the best way to get people to engage in a problem is to state an opinion that is so obviously wrong. People go out of their way to tell you that it's wrong and what their opinion is. If you post something that's sort of wrong, partially right, or probably right, people won't lift a finger.
Try this with your next code review! :D Do something the wrong way and everyone wants to correct you. I've noticed after I've corrected such a problem, people are silent about the rest of the code review, or get lazy about finishing it.
<dm> I discovered that you'd never get an answer to a problem from Linux Gurus by asking. You have to troll in order for someone to help you with a Linux problem.
<dm> For example, I didn't know how to find files by contents and the man pages were way too confusing. What did I do? I knew from experience that if I just asked, I'd be told to read the man pages even though it was too hard for me.
<dm> Instead, I did what works. Trolling. By stating that Linux sucked because it was so hard to find a file compared to Windows, I got every self-described Linux Guru around the world coming to my aid. They gave me examples after examples of different ways to do it. All this in order to prove to everyone that Linux was better.
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<dm> brings a tear to my eye... :') so true..
<dm> So if you're starting out Linux, I advise you to use the same method as I did to get help. Start the sentence with "Linux [stinks] because it can't do XXX like Windows can". You will have PhDs running to tell you how to solve your problems.
We would use a version of this concept in client reviews, and construction inspections are known to do the same. WHen you know there are things that you would rather not have the client notice, put something so obvious that is easily corrected. The client sees that, feels great that they actually had something to say/do/etc, and then the rest slips through.
Being wrong is a great way to extract information from people. Simply asking is ineffective. There's less status to be gained by informing someone, than by setting the record straight, or putting someone in their place. Unfortunately, being wrong is also a great way to lose status.
> Engagement around conflict works at all age ranges though.
It certainly does, but content like that is described in the article, is clearly aimed a less internet-savvy crowd. Maybe the same crowd that didn't grow up with internet trolls and have copious free time and are at the highest risk for contracting plague, so they are especially juicy targets for online engagement vampires.
But only old people are using Facebook. While engagement around conflict works for all ages, each age group has a different set of conflicts they will engage with, so the content found on Facebook is specifically the stuff that makes old people fight with each other.
I keep reading people saying this, but then when I search for actual statistics, it seems that it isn't so; for example, the linked site claims that there are plenty of 25-34 year old users. If these stats are wrong please point us to better ones.
Now if you tell me that younger people are less likely to admit to using Facebook I'd buy that.
Another thing to consider is that simply looking at the age distribution is not enough. In my experience, older users (like 60+) are much more likely to engage with content. While older users may be a minority, they can make up a sizeable amount of content on the platform.
Wonder if there’s any value in a 3rd party curation of Facebook to just give me meaningful updates from friends… aka the original usage. No links, no politics, just family pics, announcements, etc. I’d love to get a weekly digest to my email!
I’m actually fine with the ads. It’s all the other “recommended” content they pump into my feed to increase engagement. They recently ruined Instagram the same way - there is no longer any way just to see posts by your followers + ads. Ever nth post is now from some account I’ve never seen. It’s really jarring as a long term IG user.
Worse then that, it’s also repeating stale content from my friends that I’ve already seen. Facebook has been a weird disorganized feed full of things I think I just saw, over and over, and now Instagram is the same thing.
No more "X friend liked Y photo or commented on Z post", no more recommended content, not even sponsored posts I think (quite the loophole, if you work at Facebook please move along). Just what your follows (friends and pages) posted, chronologically. Nothing from groups tho if that's your thing.
If I post a picture of my dog on Facebook and my child's teacher sees, that feels normal since they just kind of happen upon it. If I send them an email with a picture of my dog, that feels like I'm over stepping a bit.
So how about a pull model for email: newsletters. I'm imagining a service like Substack for regular folks. People could sign up for your personal/family email newsletter. This is like a mailing list, but point to point. Recipients could reply to you, the sender, but not "Reply All" to your full network.
I like it but forget the whole "network" part. Double opt-in only with the owner of the account not able to upload or add email addresses. That might stop it for a little while from becoming spam and have people that truly want to hear from you.
"Double opt-in" meaning a potential recipient would submit a sign-up request and then you, the author, would approve or deny their request? That would be good for privacy and reducing spam, but not allowing the author to upload their own set of email addresses would make bootstrapping your early list harder. Or perhaps the author can upload email addresses, but the service sends an email to potential recipients, asking them to confirm they want to sign up.
To bootstrap your list and make the service more viral, the service could cross-post the newsletters (or just an excerpt) to Facebook (and other social media services) with a newsletter sign-up link telling people they could receive your full updates in email without having to log into Facebook.
It's hardly easy with email. Keeping an up to date list of working addresses becomes a huge hassle once you get beyond a few people. I remember trying that in the days before Facebook and every time I sent a message it would bounce for some recipients.
Because people are already posting to Facebook, and it provides a lot of excellent scaffolding, including a small comment box that gives friction to large messages, and little friction to short messages. A bunch of short messages is what I want, which is not something typically someone is going to email. They also want to broadcast it to all their friends in a lightweight way that doesn't clog up inboxes and signals that it's optional knowledge, which an email doesn't.
There's an internal user reputation score that measures the engagement of your posts. You can piggyback the business on the noise.
Advertisers are using this trick too. Healthcare ads with a gay couple, grocery ads with a Muslim, they aren't doing it because they're being inclusive, but because people click and interact with those types of ads.
Recently it's become pretty blatant. The people/signal could be removed and the ad is still a complete message. The character is adjacent to the content.
It's there as "interact-bait" to get people to furiously type at the keyboard and thus boost the advertiser's engagement score.
How much does it matter here tho? I think it gatters likes/follows and baits enough people to check the profile, but the conversion rate seems extremely low (tho I guess that may be good enough with these numbers). In OP's blog previous post  on "Thinkarette Lifestyle" , their engagement baits gather hundreds to thousands (to millions with homeruns) of comments while the dropshipping posts gather 0 to 5 likes a piece - a page with >2M likes.
Fair, the low likes could be vastly under-selling how many impressions they get and their click-through rate. Clearly it makes at minimum some money (and possibly a good amount) for the owner to be so diligently keep the page chugging along, I just remember being impressed how little engagement they get for 2M likes page on "their" items vs the "questions". If you scroll through Kroger's page  for instance, they have fewer likes (1.6M) but still get >80/100 reactions on every post including item promotions, though they are clearly better at crafting stories around them rather than plain "check this item, buy it here".
Aren't those examples showing the discrepancy? The bait page has (roughly) 0-5 likes for 2.15M followers, these have respectively 140 likes for 270k followers and 360 likes for 25k followers. Either the dropshipping posts from the former really don't get a lot of exposure as opposed to their bait posts, or their audience hardly engages with it (perhaps as it is off-brand for a "question page").
It's hilarious to me that the author pretends we should have higher standards of facebook. Hey do you know how much facebook paid for the content they publish? You know what you get for $0 ? Nothing or less than nothing. And it s not just facebook, all of them are selling attention, not content. As long as users are not compensated for their content, the audience will be fed with trash
I mean, plenty of people write blogs for no compensation whatsoever (usually paying some token fees for hosting and domains, making it a net expense). Just because content is free doesn't mean it has to be bad.
Exactly. I've seen plenty of YouTube videos that are excellent despite being made by tiny channels of just a few 100 or 1000 subscribers. Same goes for a lot of the posts on Hackernews. And TikTok has a massive userbase that's still growing because even if it's not healthy for you, at least the content on the platform is good. Facebook is both unhealthy and bad content. Every time I scroll through, it feels like I'm torturing myself a little.
not really. on the opposite, youtube, which does compensate for popular content, has vastly better content. Since people know there is a way to make money by making content that is likeable, the likelihood of making good content is higher. In facebook people make $0 always, hence they have no incentive to put any effort
It causes future posts from these pages to rank higher, so when they push some dropshipping scams they'll get more eyeballs without having to pay for them.
It's similar to a lot of "cute cats/dogs" accounts on Instagram. They get tons of views without gaining much from it. But then they can sell "sponsored" posts and stories that reach tons of people, which they charge hundreds for (commonly also used for dropshipping ads).
Even worse than those posts are Facebook's new Reels (i guess their tiktok competitor). Insanely click-bait, usually some suspenseful caption and/or a cover picture that's somewhat sexually suggestive. I keep trying to hide them from my feed but Facebook just keeps bringing them back.
Out of curiosity I've watched some of these. 50% of them, I can't even figure out what they're supposed to be. The other day I saw one where a girl was taking a selfie near the water. A guy picking up trash walked near her, she pushed him (I don't know why), she then dropped her phone in the water, jumped on a fence, jumped back on the shore and mean mugged him. I was honestly baffled as to what happened
Part of me thinks that these videos are being generated by AI and aren't real at all. A good chunk of them make absolutely no sense to me.
The ads for games in my feeds are like this guy's viral text. They show someone failing at a very simple puzzle game and say, "millions have tried, few have succeeded!" this is just bait for customers to play the very easy game and prove to themselves that their brains aren't slowly rotting away. In a similar vein, coming up with a word with an 'ee' in it, as in the linked article, is trivial and makes people feel smart.
I love that the author complains about another popular Facebook page that’s using engagement bait to push a dropshopping affiliate program, while their own blog post has a sponsored ad for NFT perfume.
Yeah, what's even the point of the NFT at that point? It's like saying "if you buy a Cracker Jack card, we'll give you a box of Cracker Jacks!"
Who's going to buy an NFT that gives comes with a physical product on the secondary market? Unless that business will only sell to NFT holders in perpetuity, which sounds like a poor way to grow a business but hey, lots of things are successful by being exclusive.
At this point, the only reason I can think of is VC funding. But I also don't know why VCs don't see through this bullshit... They're supposed to be smart right? Even if they're shotgun investing and hoping that one company goes 100x, I can say with absolute certainty that this company is either going to fold or get rid of the NFT aspect of the business in the next 5 years. What's the point of investing in a company like that?
Unless the video  I had seen (some time ago) on the subject didn't explain it right, it seems to be conflating "group think" and pattern recognition with "everyone on reddit is a bot except you"/"the Internet is a Markov chain". I've had too many exchanges with obvious humans on Reddit to believe a super-majority of it is bot-generated. Than there are the plethora of terrible chat bots that kind of prove the point the Internet can't all be botted without being obviously so. And than they (he?) layer(s) in the conspiracies like "Facebook is a DARPA-sponsored project" because of funny timing . And than there's my own observations when looking at people "in the wild" and how many are glued to their phones; the Internet is a potent addiction and there's no need for a fringe theory to explain it.
I can absolutely believe that a lot of comments on these baits are bots trying to look real for like/engagement-farms - could even explain why they catch like wildfire - as they are the perfect target with one-worded comments copied from others looking normal. But seems to me that theory  is a stretch, although it sounds like a compelling dystopia.
Possibly related hypothesis: a minority of the human-generated content on the internet is "genuine", that is said because it is believed. Rather, a majority of the content that pretends to be genuine, is instead done only in order to try to provoke a response. In other words, most of the human-generated content on the internet is done by a human trying to emulate a bot, or at least with the same motivations as a bot.