Facebook can measure just about anything, ranging from personal buying preferences to your personality traits. But now the social media giant is offering what it believes users have been desperately seeking for years—a way to measure how much someone actually cares. And the best part: many believe Key West will be the sample market for this revolutionary tool.
Earlier in the week a spokesmen for Facebook revealed Key West is a finalist for the new “Care Meter,” which will indicate how passionately engaged a particular user is on issues such as celebrity deaths, food pics, yoga poses and political debates.
“We have always felt like Facebook users in Key West have been some of the quickest to share their opinions on just about anything,” said Alex Dim of Facebook. “Our target market is typically white males and females, ages 25 to 65, who feel an inherent need to relate to other cultural struggles and injustices by claiming they ‘get it’ with Facebook rants and posts.”
Dim said a complex algorithm will measure a user’s engagement on topics like politics, birthdays, celebrity deaths, emoji and GIF usage, pictures of kids or pets and trending news stories.
“Think about the person who celebrates a Facebook birthday by posting a collage of pictures of themself with the birthday boy or girl over a timeline,” said Dim. “Or the person who is the first to let someone know a celebrity musician has died and they post a cover song that they think only they know. The care meter can calculate these things for each and every user.”
Facebook believes Key West embodies what the care meter is all about. For example, Key West “unfriends” more users than any sample market in the U.S. (per capita). Unfriending someone, based on disagreements or not thinking exactly like they do, is another strong measure on the care scale.
Facebook also said Key West users prioritize social stature and value on items like being the first to eat at a new restaurant…or the last to eat at a restaurant that is closing. Food and drink pics from such locations all increase someone’s “care status.”
“I’ve always thought that I care more than everyone else,” said Barb Johnson, who has lived in Key West for two years and guarantees she will never leave. “I’m always the first to call out fake news and cite my own trusted news sources, like the Guardian, to prove my points. And I feel like it’s my duty to get involved in every political debate on social media. At the end of the day, I know my arguments change a lot of views and a ton of hearts. And if they don’t, well, I just unfriend them.’
Facebook says users can score “care points” during the best and worst of times. For example, when someone dies, if a person can claim best friend status with the deceased, their care meter can sky rocket.
“It doesn’t really matter how long you’ve known the person or whether you’ve seen them in the past decade,” said Dim. “If someone passes away and you write a heart-felt, 500-word obituary that is mainly about you, Facebook is able to collect that data and add it to your “care profile.”
But posts are not the only actions that can increase a user’s care meter. Reactions to other posts can also reveal how much someone cares. Facebook said that posts relating to yoga pics, vegan dinner pics, kids’ report cards, group costume pics, concert videos to show you were there and obscure references to ’80s pop culture are some of the most shared characteristics among those who seem to care the most. And when friends offer likes, thumbs-up emojis and general praise to these types of posts—it reveals a clear indictor that “they get it.”
“It was almost as if Key West was made for this model,” said Dim. “If caring was a sport, then Key West would be the Olympic games of caring.”
Facebook says that users should notice a new “care status” embedded beneath their profile picture in late May. However, the new care algorithm is currently collecting data, so all recent Facebook activity will be included, which has left one local user optimistic for the future.
“Real change starts on Facebook,” said a local stay-at-home dad who manages his family’s trust. “I mean, so many people just don’t understand real issues, heart-ache and love. Thank god they have people like me to show them the way — through caring, on Facebook.”