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It’s the first thing you see when you log in to just about any social networking website. The home page is where you receive information from all the sources you have asked the website to provide. If you’re new to any particular site, most will make recommendations based on what little they know about you. This is why many sites ask you to log in through Facebook, so they can download information about you in an instant.
Try it now. Go to Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ or Twitter – whichever one is your favorite. The home page is where it all starts. Your friends, faves, pages, follows, circles, if you attached yourself to it, this is where you will find the incoming feed. Some sites even refer to it as the News Feed.
Many people will waste hours refreshing their home page to update the incoming stream of information. Twitter is great for this. They even make it easy for you to see how much new information has come in since you’ve last updated so you know there’s something new to see.
Facebook has come under serious fire in the past few years by trying to control the news in the feed. By first introducing EdgeRank, an algorithmic computer program that would filter information (supposedly) tailored for the user – you – to improve the overall experience and keep you on Facebook longer.
This may actually be a brilliant idea for Facebook, but marketers and even members cried foul! Facebook’s solution…kill EdgeRank (or so they say) and introduce an even more maniacal program that now uses hundreds of thousands of factors to determine how and what information you see on your own home page.
I have talked to several professionals who are leaving Facebook and using other social networks, like Instagram, for its more real-time-sharing home-page interface. Well, now that Instagram is owned by Facebook, it’s reasonable to assume that it’s only a matter of time before Instagram adopts a similar filtering regiment, thereby making it difficult for businesses to manipulate the low cost/high organic reach capabilities of the latest digital social channels.
Let’s not be fooled. These websites know that the value is in the home page and when they reach the desired position of having the attention of hundreds of millions of users, it’s obvious they would seek out ways to maximize the value of what they are bringing to us virtually for free.
This post is part of a series. To read more, click here.