You Ask, I Answer: Training Social Media Algorithms

Carl asks, “LinkedIn seems like it’s full of spam and junk. Are you getting any value out of it?”

I listened to this terrific episode of This Week in Machine Learning with Sam Charrington and Dr. Romer Rosales, lead data scientist and AI expert at LinkedIn. In the episode, Dr. Rosales gave away the secret to making LinkedIn work for you, and that’s the secret I share in the video.

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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

In today’s episode, Carl asks, LinkedIn seems like it’s full of spam and junk, are you getting any value out of it, I listened

to a terrific episode of one of my favorite podcasts in that’s not in marketing this week in machine learning and AI with Sam Jackson, when he

interviewed Dr. Romero solace, who is the lead data scientist and AI expert at LinkedIn. And Dr. Gonzales talked about how LinkedIn algorithm works, it’s fairly straightforward from a machine learning perspective, from a deep learning perspective. And that is that they have a few different outcomes, like three or four different outcomes, and then their algorithm optimize around each of those outcomes. But trying to balance them all it’s it’s was called trade off analytics. So on one hand, they want user engagement. But on the other hand, they want satisfaction reports, user satisfaction reports to be mostly positive, they want people interacting with core parts of the platform, like updating their profile. But they also want companies posting jobs, they want advertisers to run ads, but they also again, want those quality scores for user satisfaction to remain high. So what they’re doing behind the scenes is optimizing for all these different outcomes. Facebook, by the way, works on the very same principle. If you look at the way Facebook displays data, and and what’s going on behind the scenes, it is a deep learning algorithm. And it’s trying to optimize for things like user engagement for those target variables like deep engagement, where someone leaves a comment, rather than just press the like button, because your cat can have a Like button, right,

where you share with annotation, all these social networks are using very similar algorithms. They may be make trade offs differently, Dr. Rosen was wasn’t able, obviously, to comment on what other networks besides LinkedIn, we’re doing him. But on LinkedIn, specifically, the trade offs are balancing that satisfaction with

the the display.

And one other thing that I thought was interesting is the meta value for LinkedIn is delivering as much value to the user holistically as possible. So if you’re not getting value out of LinkedIn, the reason why is that your profile, and by this I mean, you the user on LinkedIn, have not sufficiently trained the machine, you have not sufficiently trained the algorithm to display what you do and do not want out of LinkedIn. I tried this experiment, I listened to this episode over the previous weekend, it’s now Thursday of the following week. And I’ve been following a very simple practice for three minutes a day.

But you know, once in the morning, once around, lunchtime, wants to in the evening, for a

minute each, I scroll through my feed, and I mark hide this,

if for any posts that frankly, I don’t get value out of, you know, on LinkedIn, there’s like, people posting these little motivational quotes don’t get much value that hide this, someone saying my company showing off this thing. Cool,

okay, hide this on Facebook, so and so politician does something silly. Okay, seeing that read the news elsewhere. Hi, this,

the change has been remarkable in just three minutes a day per network. So

nine minutes total a day, because Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. For me personally,

the value I get of LinkedIn is substantially better, I no longer see a lot of that content, like, you know, this, this, this person or this silly thing, I’m training the algorithm, I’m doing active training of the algorithm say, I don’t want to see that stuff anymore. This stuff is not not delivering value. To me, it is it is bad for my user experience, I do the same thing for ads to also like, this ad wasn’t relevant to me. And in just four days, I get a better experience out of LinkedIn, I get a better experience at Facebook, the thing that’s important is that because these algorithms are powered by deep learning, which is constantly readjusting constantly passing data back and forth through the layers of machine learning that power the algorithm, it’s not like you do a bunch of stuff. And then you have to wait a week, a month, a quarter a year for a software engineer to update the product, these algorithms are operating in real time, or in very near real time. So the changes that you make, and the train that you do with them takes effect almost immediately. So it’s important for all of us, as individually users to understand how these algorithms at least conceptually, you don’t have to understand the math behind them, and to train them to provide them data to provide them feedback in in near real time. Yes, this is good. No, this is not good Google search algorithm, by the way, does the exact same thing, these algorithms are not broadly trained, like, Hey, this is the one algorithm that rules all and this is the one the one right type of data show on LinkedIn, they are custom to your profile their custom to you what you want,

you may be the sort of person who loves getting motivational quotes against pretty pictures on LinkedIn. If that’s your jam. Awesome. Make sure you like those posts, hit the like button on them. And you may find, you know, long winded

essentially many blogs on LinkedIn. But to be the pits hide those so and your algorithm or your profile in the algorithm will show you what you want, it will not damage the experience and some other people around you. So you’re not worried about training it and then, you know, nobody gets valuable thank goodness, it’s specific to you and your experience

Google Search operates the same way YouTube operates the same way all of these networks and networks got more than I say, one than 500 million users it’s using deep learning or if it’s not that networks gonna have a massive scalability

problems, and it’s probably place nobody wants to be.

So it’s got more than 500 million users is using deep learning. If it’s using deep learning, it can be trained by you, for you for your use. So invest a few minutes every day, do it for two weeks,

just two weeks, and you will start to see a difference almost immediately. But keep training, keep training and keep training until it is the way you want it to be. And you will find that

it’s a much more pleasant experience. Now,

here’s the catch.

When you train the algorithm, you’re also limiting your worldview, you’re also limiting it to the things that you like. Which means if there’s something new that you don’t necessarily like or dislike, you may not see it in time. So don’t be too restrictive, obviously, stuff that’s just flat out not useful. Like for me motivational quotes on I’m pretty pictures just not valuable to me. So those things are included, hide some other stuff and like and company news, you know what, this one’s not too bad. I’m going to let leave it as is because I still might want to see stuff like that, particularly from relevant companies be be aware of that, especially on Facebook in you know, in your personal use, if you only see and hear the things that you like, you’re going to miss some stuff. Now, that might not be a bad thing depending on how angry certain news makes you but but know that you are intentionally constructing a filter bubble

and you do need to get data somewhere else in order to to retrain and and expand the filter bubble in appropriate ways that that’s a great question, Carl. Interesting question. Because, again, machine learning and deep learning or what’s behind all these social algorithms. Knowing how they work means that you can take advantage of that. As always,

if you have comments, please leave them in the comments field below. Subscribe to the YouTube challenge and the newsletter and we’ll talk to you soon. Take care

if you want help with your company’s data and analytics. Visit Trust Insights calm today and let us know how we

can help you


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