Ready to dive in? Then join media update's Jana van der Westhuizen in decoding the relevance of social media algorithms.  

What are social media algorithms? 

An algorithm is a mathematical tool that predicts how a set of data will behave. Basically, coders use machine learning to teach a range of functions how they should perform. These functions will then sift your social media platforms to provide you with what the algorithms believe to be your interests. 

So, with half of the world's population using social media, developers just had to find a way in which an individual can be targeted specifically through their social media platforms. With a large amount of content and users, algorithms are a way to create relevancy, structure and validity in social media feeds.

Why should you care? 

Well, algorithms are coded in such a way that it gathers your personal information (geographical location, friend suggestions and search history) to analyse your preferences. Yes, that's why you see so many dog posts! 

Algorithms also make use of shadow bans, which means that certain posts with a lower reach will not make it to your screen. This may lead to a polarised viewpoint as a user is not in control of what they view. Someone else decides which content gets to have the most visibility … controversial, I know!

Do you think social media algorithms are a good way to channel content? Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

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Algorithms are not the only medium that has taken your social media feed captive. Memes are also a powerful means of communication — so why not check out The power of the meme.
*Image courtesy of Pexels