Edison Research Strategy VP Tom Webster has written an interesting blog regarding Facebook’s practice of “attention rationing” with respect to its news feed.
Webster points out that the social network’s news feed changed its flow a while back from a “chronological, roughly real-time stream of your friends’ activities, to something a little more ‘selective.’ ” As Webster notes,
…with Facebook enjoying massive mainstream adoption, understanding how it ranks and prioritizes items in your news feed is of great importance. For brands and companies the game is still to produce compelling content that readers and “likes” will value and interact with. Webster explains, Facebook’s optimization algorithm, EdgeRank, essentially scores your interactions with your Facebook friends, and promotes items in your stream from people you favor with your attention, every time you read their profiles, click on their links, or comment on their updates. Close friends are assigned more weight than distant acquaintances, comments are weighted more heavily than the easily-given “likes,” and newer tends to trump older.
Has the new algorithm improved the user experience? Webster seems to think so, although he realizes that marketers now must try to engage and interact with all their fans to get the benefits of having a large number of “likes.” And for those who love lists, there’s three conclusions on how to make the most of the new EdgeRank optimization algorithm.