Read a blog yesterday on Wired.com talking about how the "For You" page on TikTok works, the articles does a great job covering different aspects about the past behind how people assumed it worked, the present and how it actually works and the bigger responsibility that all the social media networks hold by recommending certain content on their platforms.

The thing that I wanted to focus on what the article broke down into "strong signals" and "weak signals", these are basically set of properties about a the content and the user uploaded on their platform. The strong signals included these things

  1. Watching the video until the end
  2. Sharing the video
  3. Following the creator

Weak Signals Include

  1. Type of device
  2. Language preference
  3. Close Geolocation (Based on country)

There is an additional negative feedback that is considered in ranking the videos

  1. Tapping "Not Interested" by the viewers
  2. Choosing "hide content" from this creator

Other factos include

  1. Song clip
  2. Captions
  3. Hashtags

This might be a curated list that they are sharing with the users but even from this list you can see the amount of meta data available for the content and how much is being tracked and used in order to recommend what you watch next.

The blog doesn't talk about the fact the app maybe tracking this information if you just download an account and don't actually subscribe. Facebook is known for making shadow profiles and collecting data on users who aren't part of the platform. Given that TikTok is using tons of datapoint specially around device information, it is very likely that they are informing their algorithm based on user-data even for those who don't have registered accounts.

Three Good Things

  1. A mid day nap: My schedule was off yesterday because the AC stopped working in the night and sleeping in a hot Miami summer wasn't comfortable, so I needed taking a long nap in the afternoon and catching up on that eight hours of sleep.
  2. Watched a movie: Saw "About Time", a movie about how the boys in the family have the ability to travel back in time. In the need they stopped used them because they started living each day more joyfully and mindfully, enjoying every moment so that they didn't to correct it again and again.
  3. Made some happy people: I realized yesterday that we are all the same in that we don't feel motivated and need to push ourselves. Yesterday, I realized that if instead of pushing people you do the activity they enjoy in their presence really badly they will have the urge to correct that behavior and hence participating in the activity. It's a very passive approach but is something I feel my parents almost did all the time. So yesterday I picked up a guitar because someone I know loves playing them and they ended up playing it after the first five minutes of listening to my misery.