During this week’s series on Facebook life, I’ve tackled:

Twelve Philosophies of Facebook: Which One Are You?

Four Concepts That Will Change How you Use Facebook

You really ought to read them. Lots of people have. But what next?

Good people have already written solid articles about the dangers of Facebook. You know, cyber-stalking, identity theft, bullying, narcissism. Several months ago I wrote an interesting piece called Parenting Through The Facebook Era. You may want to check that out to see how my wife and I handle Facebook with our three kids (ages 11, 12, and 15 at this writing).

Here’s my next piece.

Facebook is a meritocracy.


A meritocracy. It’s like a democracy, except everyone is voting all the time for everything. If you’re a marketer, you know this all too well and are already leveraging your products and services accordingly. If you’re a simple Facebook user, though—I mean, citizen—it means that you’re being leveraged.

Time to wake up.

Webster says a meritocracy is “a system in which the talented are chosen and moved ahead on the basis of their achievement.” Applied to the web, it’s not about people, it’s about information. Content.

Facebook is a content valuation system. When you “like” or “share” or comment (on a status, photo, or link) you’re voting for it. The more votes something gets, the more merit it has been given in the nation of Facebook. Facebook is a system where we, the people, put ideas in power by giving them merit.

A meritocracy.

All social media sites are, actually.

Did you know that Facebook operates with a complex algorithm based on merit?  That you don’t see all your friend’s posts with equal opportunity? Every time you like, share, or comment on someone’s content, Facebook takes note. Over time, you are far more likely to see posts at the top of your feed from people you have previously liked than people you haven’t. Over time, you’re ranking people’s voices in your Facebook world.

Remember what we learned yesterday: You are Facebook, the king or queen of your little domain. Vote wisely. Shape your kingdom with the values you want to see manifested. And be careful about which ideas you help rise to the top.