Enough with the content algorithms!

I’m writing this because I’ve had enough of the mindf***ing algorithms that every single social media service employs these days, in varying flavors. What do I mean?

Well, have you indicated your preference for something on Facebook? Are you surprised by the fact that the posts you see are always geared toward those preferences? Are you surprised when the ads you see are also about the stuff you might be using or want to buy? Are you surprised that you see virtually nothing from stuff you didn’t indicate that you like or are interested in? Are your surprised when you see an ad along the very same lines laid out above, interspersed between every 3-4 posts, and it’s a video ad that repeats, over and over and over, until you have to hide it and also tell Facebook to hide all ads from that brand, but then a different ad for that same product pops up again from another account, and you have to hide that and hide all from that brand, only to go through the same s**t, day in and day out?

Have you viewed a few videos on YouTube on a particular topic, say the latest digital cameras, and now your YouTube homepage is filled with videos on that topic? How about the recommended videos in the sidebar? Did you get enough of that topic the first time around and already made your decision, but now you can’t seem to be rid of videos about digital cameras that make you doubt your decision, with reviews where “experts” are yelling at you that this other model is better, so much better than the other model you want to buy, and by the way, they have an affiliate link in the description that you should click on when you buy it? Do you struggle to find other content now, because all that YouTube recommends to you are more videos on digital cameras with more “experts” voicing their “opinion”? Are you afraid to search for some other stuff on YouTube because you know that for the next few weeks, you’ll be inundated with more videos on those very same keywords, even though you’ve already seen all you ever wanted to see?

Have you posted photos of a watch or a pen on Instagram, only to see tons of ads for watches and pens, and get recommendations to like more accounts on watches and pens? Do you find it hard to see anything else on Instagram, because that’s pretty much all they’ll shove down your throat, putting ads for watches and pens between every 2-3 actual posts (for watches and pens)?

Isn’t AI fun? Isn’t social media fun? Don’t you love how it’s catered to your very needs, even though you don’t know they’re your needs and you don’t want them to be your needs, but they’ll be your needs goddamit because that’s what the social media algorithms are force-feeding you?

Well, f**k all this s**t. I’ve had enough. Facebook, Google, you guys need to adjust your algorithms. This is absolutely ridiculous. The world is a varied place. Humans are varied, diverse individuals. Just because one day we want to see a video about [insert topic here], it doesn’t mean we want to see more videos on that same topic later in that same day, or the next day, or every damned day for the next few weeks, until your algorithms figure we’ve had enough. And we definitely don’t want to see ads for that s**t haunting us whenever we use your services and your websites and wherever else we might go (yes Adwords and Facebook Pixel, I’m talking about your omnipresent ads for whatever product we might have once seen somewhere). We want variety. We need variety. We need to see and experience opposing viewpoints on a topic. Sameness, day in, day out, is a real mindf**k. It’s not the real world, but since we tend to experience the world through social media, the responsibility falls on you to represent the real world in a real manner.

This has got to stop. These algorithms have got to be changed. They need to become more human. Do you realize you can drive someone mad with your code, haunting them with more and more and more on something they only wanted to see once, something they can’t be rid of now? Do you realize you should be held responsible for the mental health of the people who use your services? It’s high time that fact dawned on you. Change your practices! Do it now.

Introducing my Facebook and Instagram pages

If you’re subscribed to my website, you know that you’ll get an email from me whenever I post something new. I know many of you wish I’d post more often, and for those of you that want that, I’d like to introduce you to my Facebook and Instagram pages. I’m quite active on Facebook; I post several times a day to my Facebook page. I’ve just started using Instagram regularly and I post once or twice per day to my Instagram profile.

I post a lot of photographs of homes and gardens, of interior design and I talk about various style issues that pertain to my Elegant Gentleman series of videos and articles. I’m particularly proud of my collection of curated albums of exterior and interior design. It’s definitely worth your while.

So, if you’ve been wanting to see more content from me, please join me on Facebook and/or Instagram! See you there!

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Who gets my vote for online video?

I wanted to upload a 25 min/525 MB video to a video sharing site recently. I found myself out of options. Ever since Google Video stopped allowing new uploads, there is no other site where you could upload a video this long, at that file size, without having to upgrade to some sort of paid account. Still, there’s one site that gets my vote for being a whole lot friendlier to its users.

First, let’s look at what’s available.

YouTube

They’re the giant with the huge market share. We already know we’re up against the 10-minute limit there, which can only be lifted if you’re some sort of government or news organization.

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The nice part about YouTube is that they’ll allow video clips to be up to 2 GB in size, but I do wish there’d be a way to lift that 10-minute limit, at least for some of the videos we upload, say, something like 1 video per month can be up to 30 minutes in length, or something like that. There’s no Pro option at YouTube, although it’d be nice if there was a low-cost one that would have longer time limits for uploads.

Vimeo

Vimeo is up next. It’s a much smaller site than YouTube, but it’s geared more toward video pros and amateurs, people who tend to do more with their videos than just turn on a webcam and hit record. If you have a free account there, you’re up against a 500 MB weekly limit, which is generous, but in my case, it turned out to not be enough.

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The Pro option at Vimeo is $60/year, and it ups the weekly quota to 5 GB (from 500 MB), with unlimited HD uploading. It’s pretty cool, but since I don’t work with a lot of video, it’s not the option for me.

SmugMug

SmugMug has NO free video uploads, but they offer that option to those with paid accounts (Power and Pro users). I have a Pro account with them, which lets me sell digital downloads and prints of my photos very easily. I appreciate that a lot. The Pro account also lets me upload SD and HD video, but the really annoying part, the part that gets me steamed up, is that I’m limited to 10 minutes in length and 600 MB in file size per video clip.

I’m sorry, but that’s even lower than YouTube standards! Why am I paying $130/year when the video uploads are so hamstrung? I don’t care so much that the codecs used for compressing the uploaded videos are better than those at YouTube; I happen to care when I can’t upload a video and have paid for a Pro account…

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SmugMug should seriously reconsider upping their limits to 30 minutes per video and at least 1 GB per file. They’re behind the times.

Facebook

I got a really pleasant surprise when I checked into Facebook’s video upload requirements.

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They have a 20 minute limit and 1 GB file size limit per video clip. In my opinion, that’s better than what YouTube, Vimeo and SmugMug provide. The best part is that they’re free. As far as I’m concerned, they get my vote for the best online video offering. It may not be the highest-quality compression, and it may not be the biggest free offering, but I think they’ve struck a great compromise between video clip duration and size.

I should mention that WordPress also has a video upload option, which I reviewed recently, but have not included here because it’s tied into their blogging platform. They have no standalone video upload and share option.

There you have it. If you want to share larger videos online, use Facebook.