Chance encounter – not so random


An algorithm in Facebook organises the frequency of seeing different friends’ news feeds – based on the frequency of your Facebook contact with your friends. Some friends are only contacted by certain people on Facebook because they don’t necessarily want contact with them outside of Facebook. The downside is that Facebook prioritises these people, whose news is not necessarily as valued as the news of the friends that some people would prefer to engage with outside of Facebook.

So, Facebook news is not evenly distributed.

One touted benefit of living and working in cities, random encounter.

Not random because the spatial layout of a town or city manages the encounter process.

When places work well, they mix local and global movement.

This brings unexpected, chance encounters.

But, since the urban place is doing this in a probabilistic way, the encounters aren’t random. They can be relied on.

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