BCM112 · Digital Media


This week we discussed the affordances the internet creates in the sense of how it allows for dialogic media (as opposed to monologic often found in legacy media formats).

Although the internet provides the opportunity for open conversation; it also creates a space which offers very specific, targeted content which you are most likely to click on.  Eli Pariser in his Ted Talk approached this by discussing Mark Zuckerberg’s approach to a filtered timelines on Facebook:  “A squirrel dying in front of your house may be more relevant to your interests right now than people dying in Africa.” As a result, it edits whose updates you see based upon your click history in order to create the optimum engagement for their site, as well as who you talk to most, whose pictures you are tagged in and so on so forth.  It prioritises your timeline in order to create a ‘filter bubble‘, insulating you from opinions other than your own — and you never know what it has excluded.ebqdrpf

For producers, the internet is a network free of gatekeepers: anybody can publish, with or without credentials.  However, for consumers, the human gatekeeper has transformed into an algorithm, not limiting what is posted, but curating what is seen.  As such, our internet bubble creates a feedback loop which continuously suggests content which is agreeable to the user, thus cutting out confronting, challenging or controversial ideas in order to create a passive audience within a dialogic platform, almost as though it had been censored anyway.




  1. Hey there!
    I found this blog super interesting, a really good view on the weeks content. I never thought about what is excluded on my facebook timeline, and was not aware of this filtering system you explain. When taking in the information for the week I didn’t think about what is seen, I was purely thinking about what is created so I am really interested and impressed with your blog post focusing on what is seen.
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very impressed by this post it wasn’t an idea I was thinking of but now I am, Really interesting points and I liked how you posted your links within the sentences it gave me an idea of what to do next time. Also reminds me of My life in Adwords https://vimeo.com/39677781 Here is the link it had the creator emailing herself her own diary and google read that looking for key terms to change the advertisements on her facebook newsfeed. It’s an interesting listen, shows how invasive the internet can be in adapting our ads to things it finds relevant in our lives 🙂 -Ash

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  3. Like the previous comments, this was a point that I had not considered also. It is extremely interesting the way in which some things are excluded from our internet searches and Facebook timelines. Another example of this would be the way in which cookies track our internet history. For example, when you’re on an online shopping store and then you go onto another webpage their ad is on that page reminding you of what you just looked at in hopes you will go back and purchase.

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  4. Going off what you noted about the filter bubble, it’s interesting to consider how Facebook is able to manipulate that, to make you feel certain things. In 2012 (Quicky source, here http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/06/everything-we-know-about-facebooks-secret-mood-manipulation-experiment/373648/) data scientists manipulated the content of almost 700,000 Facebook users when they logged into the platform, for one week, to observe the results- Some users were received filtered newsfeeds with a preponderance of happy and positive words; whereas others received content that was largely quite negative in nature. The scientists found that these online- guinea pigs were more likely to create posts with a mood aligned to that of their skewed feeds. Now granted this is much like in real life where if the people surrounding you are elated, or depressed, etc, then your mood will likely align to that as well. However, later studies based off these same feed manipulations show how significant the likes of confirmation bias really in our “Filter Bubble”- Much like Ms Occupy Dread Street up there.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This blog post is so succinct and in depth; it really encapsulates your understanding of the topic! the fact that Facebook is pretty much tracking everything we do and everything we click on to control what we see is pretty mind boggling and scary, and it’s only going to get worse in my mind. For how much longer are we going to be able to think for ourselves without them curating THAT too?

    Liked by 1 person

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