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Digital Literacy: Navigating Social Media Algorithms

Ever wonder why you are seeing the information and content that you do on your social media feed? Those amazing food videos, funny cat content, or even more serious political posts? That’s the work of a social media algorithm. 

A social media algorithm is a complex set of computational rules that decides which posts you see on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, X, or LinkedIn. It watches what you like, comment on, or spend time looking at, and then shows you more posts similar to those. 

The goal is to keep you interested by filling your feed with stuff that you enjoy.

Social media algorithms offer us an opportunity to curate our feeds, so that we see content that we like and have an interest in. However, this type of personalisation can also limit us in terms of engaging in diverse perspectives, locking us into echo chambers which can confirm pre-existing biases and beliefs. 

Here are some tips to ensure your social media experience is as rich and diverse as possible:

Mix it Up: Make a conscious effort to follow accounts from different spheres of interest. Love cooking? Try following a tech influencer. Passionate about politics? Why not check out some travel bloggers? This will diversify your feed and introduce you to new ideas and perspectives.

Seek Out Opposing Views: While it's comfortable to engage with content that echoes your beliefs, challenge yourself by following credible sources with different viewpoints. It's a great way to understand broader perspectives and keep your critical thinking sharp.

Use Features to Explore New Content: Platforms like Instagram and TikTok have "Explore" features that suggest content beyond your usual feed. Spend some time there to discover varied content you might not encounter otherwise.

Engage Wisely: The algorithm pays attention to your interactions. If you want to see more diverse content, engage with it when you find it. Like, comment, and share to tell the algorithm what you enjoy.

Review Your Preferences: Occasionally review your following list and preferences. Social media platforms often allow you to adjust your feed settings. Use these tools to manage and refresh the content you're exposed to.

Remember, social media is a tool that you can control. By taking proactive steps, you can enjoy a feed that not only entertains but also educates and broadens your worldview. Here's to breaking out of the echo chamber and embracing the vast, diverse content that social media has to offer! 

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