After reading several articles about the differences and similarities of Facebook and Google+, I’ve come to one conclusion; it’s all about the algorithms. Whether it’s Facebook’s EdgeRank or Google+’s Your World, there is clear mathematical substance behind all of the “sharing,” “liking,” “+1-ing,” and “commenting” getting view time on these social platforms.
So what does it all mean and what exactly are these algorithms we keep hearing about? Shall we take a look?
Let’s start with Facebook and their EdgeRank. Facebook uses the EdgeaRank algorithm to determine what is displayed on your News Feed and how high up in your feed that content is placed. Essentially, the algorithm is the sum of the Edges. But wait, what is an Edge?! An Edge is basically everything and anything that happens on Facebook; a status update, a comment, a share, a like, etc. Each Edge contains Affinity, Weight, and Time Decay. Affinity is basically the “relationship” between a brand and yourself. Weight is a value assigned to an action by Facebook, different actions have different weights. For example, a comment is a more involved action so it carries more weight than a simple like. Time Decay is essentially the age of an Edge or action. The longer it’s been “alive” the less valuable it becomes.
Okay – that’s all great…but why is EdgeRank and all of those fancy terms important? Because, if your brand has a low EdgeRank it will not get “top billing” on your fan’s News Feed and will most certainly not be seen by many people. Basically, each story on Facebook is assigned a score; the higher your score, the higher the placement of your story. The infograph here explains it all perfectly!
So what other neat mathematical and tech savvy things are Facebook doing to keep great content at the top of your News Feed? The Social Graph concept is one way! Boonsri Dickinson, a technology insider, explains that “the Social Graph draws an Edge between you and the people, places, and things you interact with online.” Photos, events, pages, comments, and much more are connected with your relationships, things you share, and the photos you tag – creating a web of information for the online world. With the roll out of Graph Search on Facebook, this information can now be used when searching to specific items, ideas, or actions on the internet; essentially, working like a Google search but within the Facebook walls.
Speaking of Google…what about Google+? I personally still do not understand the charm of Google+. I understand that, if used correctly, it can get your brand and posts seen by anyone that searches the right key words – but it’s so confusing to use! Those issues aside, let’s try to figure it out! From what I gather, Google+ is brand’s best friend. By using Google+ to the best of its abilities, a brand can significantly increase their SEO (Search Engine Optimization). According to Steve Rayson, an Associated Press Contributor, “Google Plus content will be efficiently indexed by Google; it will gain page rank and appear in Google’s search result.” He also points out with more the two-thirds of all searches in the US taking place on Google, it’s clear that you want your content to be clearly searchable!
Google+ isn’t a stranger to the algorithm world either – much like Facebook Graph Search, Google+ implemented something called Your World. Your World, according to Amit Singhal of Google, takes the social search, personal search, and personalized search algorithms and mergers them into one seamless algorithm that will yield more results than ever.
While Google+ may still remain a mystery to me, with 90 million users it’s clear that it’s not going away anytime soon. So, maybe it’s time that I buck up and take a deeper dive into the world (and benefits) of using Google+. But, in the meantime, I’ll continue using (and loving) my sweet, sweet Facebook.
Ta-ta for now!