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Finding an audience (on Facebook)

Social media can be both fun and useful. Over the weekend, we were exploring a few different design options for an address sign at Mackay Laneway House and so I posted this image on Twitter and storied it on Instagram. I got a bunch of responses, as well as some great suggestions. And we ultimately ended up making a small change to the design. That process was both fun and useful. The final design is now out for pricing and production.

But as we all know, there is also a dark side to social media. The algorithms that power social media have been optimized to amplify whatever drives the most engagement. Oftentimes that means whatever gets people the most enraged. In this recent NY Times article, Stuart A. Thompson and Charlie Warzel make a compelling argument that Facebook has actually been coaxing many Americans into taking more extreme views on the platform — it made them more popular.

And we’re not talking about extreme views on home address signs.

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