If Social Media Algorithms Were Our Friend
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If Social Media Algorithms Were Our Friend

Dear algorithms...

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If Social Media Algorithms Were Our Friend

When we use social media, we often don't think about the way algorithms affect what we see online. Whenever we look up something regularly or become interested in something new, the algorithms already are on top of that.
If algorithms were someone's friend, it would be a very nosy, inquisitive, all in your face type of one. It would be one of those friends that always ask what's new and how our day was. Algorithms would be a friend who would "always" make sure to hone in on every single detail about what's happened in the last time they have talked with us. That's part of what makes them challenging.

Sometimes, we don't want to share everything with our friend about everything that has happened since the last time we have talked. We want to leave gaps and open surfaces sometimes, because we don't know exactly how they will react. We want to make sure we feel "ready" before we give out these kinds of information.

But algorithms are the kind of friend that doesn't like the waiting that has to take place. They want to come in and get to know everything that has happened to us. They are not only nosy and inquisitive, they are also chaotic and intrusive. They are the type of people you want to be careful around.

The part where it gets confusing is when we also realize how algorithms have done more help than harm to us, social media users since the first social media platform was created. These things have helped sequence the platform that we worship and use. We wouldn't be able to search up our favorite accounts that produce so many creative things, if we didn't have these algorithms.

I think the kind of relationship we have to foster with algorithms is knowing where they can cross a line. Since they are the kind of "friend" that can be intrusive, it is best we draw boundaries that shouldn't be crossed. Algorithms aren't at fault here though. Sometimes, we don't know exactly how much information we need to give out to friends, even before they get to know us.

  • Don't have a "give and take" friendship with algorithms- Since algorithms are the type of friends that would be invasive, they will only have a tendency to take from us. We don't want to do all the giving, because that will only foster an unhealthy relationship between us and the algorithms. In a real world context,this applies to how we don't want to give out all of our personal information online. We want to keep some things private and protect ourselves from feeling invaded.
  • Don't trust algorithms, even if they are our friend- Algorithms are the type of friends that are not necessarily the "true friend" that we all want to have in our lives. We don't want to put our full trust in algorithms, because we know that we won't get any back. Algorithms are the type of friends that work behind closed doors and make sure what they are doing is kept hidden from us.
Don't "encourage" algorithms- Although algorithms are still our friend, they aren't the type of friend we want to tell others about proudly. They have certain character traits that won't work with everyone, especially those that have been already hurt by their friends in the past
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