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Can we skip to the good part?

Hi, my name is Sneha and like most of you, I cannot get enough of any social media platforms. That’s how we connect now. That’s how we socialise. Sometimes these apps are good, sometimes bad for our mental health. Do you know how can we skip to the good part of social media? —By understanding the beast of algorithms. 

Have you ever ordered a customised pizza with your favourite toppings, crust, cheese and sauce? That pizza will be made just for you. Your friends may or may not have the same taste. So they’ll order their own favourite pizzas. The same restaurant, but differently made pizzas for everyone. That’s pretty much how Social Media Algorithms work. Algorithms are basically Artificial Intelligence which are programmed to understand what you like, what you don’t like, what you share, who you share it with, at what time, whom you follow, who follows you…everything. It finds your perfect match (*winky face emoji*) by monitoring your online actions. 

What is Social Media Algorithm?

The total content on the social media platforms is HUGE. From that, for example, Instagram has some part of it— and it's still huge. No human can be made to sit in an office, shuffling through that content and picking something nice for you. Instead, these social media platforms use ‘machine learning’ for this job. It is based on a set of factors called ranking signals which ‘rank’ a piece of content for an individual user. These are based on your past interactions on that app. 

If that seems too theoretical, imagine any robot from a sci-fi movie working in its lab.

How does it work?

Simply put, it is designed to show you more of what you like, thus spending more time on those apps. A curator to determine what appears on your feed. What works for some people doesn't work for others—so each ‘click’, ‘view’, ‘like’, ‘comment’ and ‘share’ counts as a signal. 


  1. I ‘liked’ a reel about that new movie, now I’ll see more content about that movie in my feed.

  2. I shared a post of my favourite actress to my friend, now I’ll see more content related to that actress in my feed. In addition to that, my friend will also see that content related to it ‘recommended’ in their feed.

  3. I did not like, comment or share a video by a local artist, but watched it completely, now content related to that artist will be on my feed more.

  4. Few of my friends text me more often than others, so we might have similar interests, right? Now, the content they interact with is also recommended to me.

  5. I commented under a comedian’s video and my profile started getting more visitors, because the followers of that famous comedian saw my name pop up in the connect section.

  6. I liked the vacation photos of an influencer. It had a few brands tagged in it. Now I might see an ad for a product from that brand.

If you’re willing to take the risk of diving deep into this, I’d suggest watching ‘The Social Dilemma’, 2020. After watching this documentary/docudrama, I started using social media responsibly.

The Good Part of Social Media

From all the above examples, that content is only good if it is good for your mental health, isn’t it? Only interact with content that you feel comfortable with. If you come across something uncomfortable, you can always unfollow, delete, block, report or restrict it. 

Then comes the good part. The positive vibes we all like. So let’s say you want to learn a new language, follow an influencer who makes content about learning that language. If you want to know more about career opportunities in the field you’re in, follow a professional who’s working in it. You can even ask them for advice based on their expertise.

You might come across someone with a similar story as yours. Watching that person succeeding gives you inspiration and a sense of belonging. You can also follow your favourite vlogger to know about new events in your locality, then visit that place to socialise in-person. Maybe join a fitness enthusiast in a 365 days challenge. 

Or just follow a meme page for a few laughs! We all appreciate sharing memes as a way of staying in contact, don’t we?  

If not any of the above, then why not become a content creator? You yourself can create content that is missing from the internet! Let’s spread some positive content, shall we?

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1 Comment

Mar 19, 2023

This is so well written!Thank you for covering different aspects of social media! Especially loved the explanation of the algorithm works!Thank you:)

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