The Changing Landscape of Social Media: From Newsfeeds to Signaling

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Hatched by Glasp

Jul 12, 2023

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The Changing Landscape of Social Media: From Newsfeeds to Signaling

Introduction:

As social media continues to evolve, we find ourselves grappling with the overwhelming amount of content presented to us on platforms like Facebook. The concept of the newsfeed, once hailed as a way to connect and share with friends, has now become a source of information overload. In this article, we will explore the death of the newsfeed and its connection to Dunbar's number and Zuckerberg's law. Additionally, we will delve into the concept of signaling in marketing and how it relates to our online behavior.

The Death of the Newsfeed and the Rise of the Algorithmic Feed:

According to Facebook, the average user is eligible to see at least 1,500 items per day in their newsfeed. This staggering number is a result of Dunbar's number, which suggests that we have the capacity to know several hundred people well enough to friend them on social media. Combined with 'Zuckerberg's law,' the tendency to share more and more on social media over time, we find ourselves overloaded with content. By posting less important things onto our feeds, we inadvertently contribute to the overwhelming nature of the newsfeed.

To combat this issue, platforms like Facebook have implemented algorithmic feeds. Instead of a random sample of what's been posted, the algorithm attempts to identify the people and content we would most like to see. However, this approach presents several challenges. Determining what users want to see is an ever-changing task, and Facebook's subjective judgments can lead to unpredictability for businesses and media outlets relying on the platform.

The Signaling Theory of Marketing: Conveying Value:

In the realm of marketing, signaling plays a crucial role. Signaling refers to behavior that conveys something about ourselves to others, often related to status. For example, obtaining advanced degrees or degrees from prestigious colleges may not indicate more competence, but they serve as a signal to potential employers that we are valuable. Similarly, looking busy at work can signal importance and competence to our superiors.

In the context of social media marketing, everything we do is geared towards signaling value to potential customers. Consistency in our online presence conveys authenticity, even if it may not always be entirely genuine. By consistently presenting a specific image, we signal reliability and trustworthiness to our audience.

Connecting the Dots:

The shift from newsfeeds to algorithmic feeds and the concept of signaling in marketing may seem unrelated, but they share common points. Both highlight the importance of understanding human behavior and preferences. The newsfeed attempts to decipher what users want to see, while marketers aim to convey their value to potential customers.

Actionable Advice:

  • 1. Embrace the power of group chats: While algorithmic feeds may be imperfect, group chats provide a more manageable and intimate way to share content. Consider utilizing platforms like WhatsApp or iMessage for more targeted sharing.
  • 2. Focus on consistency in marketing: Consistency in messaging and branding can help signal authenticity and build trust with your audience. Make sure your content aligns with your brand image and values.
  • 3. Understand the changing dynamics of social media: Platforms like Facebook will continue to evolve, and it's essential to adapt your marketing strategies accordingly. Stay informed about updates and changes in algorithms to ensure your content remains visible to your target audience.

Conclusion:

The death of the newsfeed and the concept of signaling in marketing shed light on the evolving landscape of social media. As users become overwhelmed with content, platforms seek to provide more personalized experiences through algorithmic feeds. In marketing, signaling serves as a means to convey value and authenticity to potential customers. By understanding these dynamics and adapting our strategies, we can navigate the ever-changing social media landscape more effectively.

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