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Do Popularity Metrics Matter on Social Media?

Could you remove your popularity metrics? Today I discovered a browser extension which hides those like, and retweet numbers on Facebook and Twitter. Part of the purpose of the extension is to find out what happens when we judge others on Twitter and Facebook, not by the numbers but what we encounter through experiences we have with people. The concept is then pretty simple – People not numbers. Don’t let social media platforms keep you anxious to make new friends in order to keep you on their platform.

Facebook Likes
Attribution CC by 2.0 Artist Denis Bocquet  [Berlin 2016]
Overall the thinking fits into my overall scepticism about the way technology is getting deployed throughout social media to serve the interests of big business instead of users. The browser extension also works by bringing attention to the fact (and it is a fact because Facebook has a division devoted to this), is finding ways to increase our performance anxiety, by studying how we react to likes, to get us to stay on longer, in order to sell our information as a commodity.


Here are my reflections on using the Demetricator for a few weeks.

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Give this device a trial, and at the end, you may find after you see the difference, you may well find you are a little more open to the idea of creating user-owned co-operative social media platforms.

Twitter Demetricator

First I added the twitter extension which you can toggle on and off and then a little while later and I discovered a similar tool for Facebook and added it too. I’m actually happy about my choice to add these already and I have not even been on social media yet!


The back and forth thinking I went through before acting:


I’m thinking of putting this on my account. That’s right only thinking about it. I’m not on twitter for the popularity, then do I really need to put it on. Is Twitter really trying to make sure I’m anxious to keep my involvement and effort up?

I don’t want to get control but on the other hand, I’m interested in how many followers I get and what works to build a following because I want to make a living out of digital media some time and a feedback loop is important.

I realise a large part of what I have to do is to create quality content STAY HUMAN. Using this human-centered approach as my decision making rubric I’m going to take the challenge and install the app.  Here we go. I can always turn it off.


Responses to the Idea after posting to my twitter:

David responded to my twitter feed with a great article he had written:

The article where I found out about these extensions:

Personally, I’m not to sure how long I will keep the extension on. But as I write this little update here about two weeks after the original post I do notice my performance anxiety has dropped a little. I’m less anxious about followers and how many are following who.

Now after a little while with this idea I’ve kind of become a converted zealot!

Before you leave this site today would you consider taking the challenge of turning off your metrics? Why not tag your friends as well?

[clickToTweet tweet=” Do popularity metrics matter? Are you judging people by the numbers or valuing them as humans?  Take the #notmetrics social media challenge and join #teamhuman” quote=” Tell others you are taking the challenge of caring more about the human experience than the numbers” theme=”style4″]

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