When you first sign in to Facebook, your newsfeed automatically defaults to Top Stories – but how do these items get ranked? What makes your aunt’s status update rank higher than your soccer coach’s new car photos? And more importantly, how can you find yourself consistently ranked in the top stories?

First off, take a deep breath, because you can’t control everything – if one of your Facebook friends never ‘likes’ your photos, never comments on your statuses, and doesn’t interact with you on the site, your posts probably won’t show up in their Top Stories. You simply don’t have a high enough Edgerank with them

What is Edgerank?

Edgerank is the algorithm used by Facebook to determine where your posts sits in the hierarchy of your friends’ newsfeeds. It is a sum of three parts:

  • Affinity: The amount of repeat interactions you have had with this individual – or their friends, or friends of friends – on Facebook
  • Weight: Facebook has assigned arbitrary values to different interactions. For example, commenting carries more weight than liking. As a general rule, interactions that take more time have more weight. What exactly are the weight values of interactions? Only the Facebook and Edgerank developers know…
  • Time Decay: As each interaction ages, it loses value. New posts are valued higher than old ones.

For example, a post from your brother that has received 5 comments is likely to show up high on your newsfeed, whereas a post from someone you hardly talk to that only has a single like isn’t likely to show up on your news feed at all.

How can I improve my Edgerank? How can I tell what my Edgerank is?

You could check out Edgerank Checker and consider paying money from inside professionals, or you could do something revolutionary: Ignore arbitrary numbers and engage!

Personal Engagement vs ‘Liking’

Facebook may stifle where you show up on people’s newsfeeds, but they have no block on individual engagement. Instead of performing actions to simply increase a number or updating your status and hoping for the best, perform actions to increase your standing with friends in tangible, connected ways.

  • Comment on peoples’ posts with thoughtful responses
  • Ask questions and follow up with interesting folks
  • Post on friends’ walls – not spam, but things they will truly find interesting.

It’s easy to ‘Like’ something, and it gives you a quick way to let someone know you are paying attention to them. However, a thoughtful comment goes a lot farther both in the eyes of Facebook’s ranking algorithm and your real-world network building.

Measuring your Personal Edge

This kind of individual success is more difficult to measure – Still need a metric to gauge your time spent on Facebook? Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I laughing when I comment on peoples’ posts, or feeling excited, or curious?
  • Do I feel like Facebook isn’t a chore?
  • Have I found something interesting on someone elses’ page that has brightened my day or made me think?
  • Are my relationships being strengthened by the interactions I have?

If you can answer YES to these questions, congratulations! You are engaging at a personal level, and are building a network with real-world value.

This kind of engagement can – and will – increase your Edgerank. But, just consider a high Edgerank side effect of the vivid, lively network you are creating online. Instead, value the relationships that you are building.

One thought on “The Rules of (Facebook) Engagement

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