Algorithms are taking over my life and I don’t like it #MondayBlogs

algorithm 1I know it’s early on Monday morning and I should stick to light topics until everyone’s hangovers subside, but – sorry, not sorry – I’ve got something to get off my chest. I really, really don’t like anyone telling me what to do. Yes, I’m still a teenager in my head. But now it seems that we are stuck with all kinds of websites telling us what we want to read or know. Um, excuse me, what in the world makes you think you know what I want to read when I can’t decide what I want to read until I’m actually reading it?

Before we get started on this rant discussion, let’s look at how Wikipedia defines an algorithm because I pretty much slept through math class in high school.

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is self-contained sequence of actions to be performed. Algorithms can perform calculation, data processing and automated reasoning tasks.

It’s those words ‘automated reasoning’ with which I have a beef. For some strange reason, some dude sitting in a cubicle somewhere halfway across the world is deciding what Tweets, Instagram pictures, or Facebook posts I want to see. And let me tell you – he’s freaking wrong!

Here are some examples of what I’m talking about:

  • Twitter decides which tweets I see first. The home page now starts with ‘in case you missed it’ instead of a chronological view of tweets. Oh sure, you can still see the chronological tweets, but you have to scroll like a crazy person on your smart phone to get there.
  • I have no idea how Instagram does it, but – despite following several hundred accounts – I keep seeing the same 20 accounts. (Instagram dudette, if you’re out there, I don’t want to see all those accounts that only promote their own crap.)
  • Facebook. I don’t even know what to say about Facebook anymore. I used to be one of the biggest fans but no longer. On the current Facebook app, you can’t even choose to see the most recent posts. Yes, please, I want to see the same post 20,000 times because people keep on commenting on it. That stuff floats my boat. <sarcasm very much intended>

algorithm 2It’s bad enough that these algorithms are making my personal enjoyment of social media … well… less enjoyable. But algorithms also effect my profession as a writer. For example, I’ve spent a lot of time and effort gathering Facebook followers. But does an update I post actually get seen by all my followers? Not even close. Unless I pay to boost a post, less than 25% of my followers will see any given update. I totally understand that Facebook is a money-making business. Duh! But why do I have to pay to reach my followers?

algorithm 3And then there’s Amazon. Do a search for Amazon algorithm. Hundreds, if not thousands, of websites and articles – and even books! – will pop up. Everyone is trying to figure out how the Amazon search engine works. In case you’re wondering why I’ve got a bee in my bonnet about this, go ahead and search your own author name in Amazon and see what you get. When I search my author name in Amazon, books from other authors will pop up and further not all my books come up! That’s right. Someone could have met me, found me interesting, and want to read my books, but not be able to find my books when they search Amazon! I’m serious, folks. That’s just wrong.

Amazon also uses an algorithm to decide on a star rating for books. That’s right. The star rating is not merely an average calculation (which even I know how to do!). In Amazon’s defense, they feel that verified purchase reviews should carry greater weight than other reviews. I understand where they’re coming from, but I don’t agree. I’ve worked really hard to find bloggers and reviewers to review my books. They didn’t promise me a rose garden… er… a good review. And trust me, they aren’t always good. In fact, sometimes they’re downright cringe worthy.

Now do you understand why algorithms are ruling my life and I’m not happy about it?

algorithm 4



24 thoughts on “Algorithms are taking over my life and I don’t like it #MondayBlogs

    • D.E. Haggerty says:

      I actually started scaling back. I’ve been getting horrible stress headaches. Something had to give. I’ve unfollowed a lot of stuff on Facebook because I end up seeing tons of stuff I don’t want to see instead of updates about my friends – which is what I do want to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Chuck says:

    I’m with Sue, forget about the recommendation and read what you want. With that said, I’m going bonkers with Amazon in getting my book visible enough to maintain sales. Their algorithms for placement and sponsored ads are driving me up the tree. I’m glad I’m not alone with this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • D.E. Haggerty says:

      Amazon is crazy. Even using ads, it’s hard to get visibility. On the one hand, I can’t blame them. So many self-published books. But darn it! I want to be visible.


  2. A.S. Akkalon says:

    Ugh! I feel your pain. I’m not on Instagram and I dislike Facebook so strongly that I’m rarely there. I view my Twitter feed on my laptop using TweetDeck, which fortunately does show the actual tweets I got in reverse chronological order. Plus I can block out anything political by specifying a few keywords that I don’t want to see for each of my lists. I don’t know if TweetDeck works on a phone, but it makes my Twitter life so much better.

    Liked by 1 person

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