User generated content is constantly expanding. An explosion of data created by an increasing number of people has created difficulty in tracking digital data. ‘User generated content is one of the fastest growing parts of this expanding information universe’. No longer are just cultural theorists and historians presenting us with information, non-professionals such as students, artists and a large amount of non-professionals create the information on the web which is accessible to all. Countless institutions which have been developed along with an increase in availability of different types of media software has amplified the number of people who are involved with the development of digital culture. Essentially, internet users have ‘redefined what culture is’. There has been a rising number of cultural producers, hundreds of people are participating in global culture discussions making global cultural production hard to track. With the explosion of ongoing information being placed upon us how can we understand these developments and track digital culture in this constantly expanding world?
Today, the way we look at cultural information is not organised. No longer are we interacting with small forms of information, we are generating and receiving endless information every second. Therefore, tracking digital culture has become very challenging.
Ways we can track digital culture are limited. It’s hard to keep track of something which is moving so quickly, something so big, something that is changing so constantly. Digital culture is moving at a speed that is hard to track, the advancements and additional are so continual that it is somewhat impossible to monitor. The innumerable amount of internet users make it difficult to track what each person is adding to the internet and therefore it’s hard to know what is credible as the ability for non-professionals to contribute to global cultural production is improving.
However, some solutions can enable some form of tracking. The use of hashtags enable the same information to be connected, for example the use of #sport allows for information on sport to be placed together. Another example is facebook tracking your web activity, it creates ads for you based on your interests and what you have liked. Instagram uses a similar idea where it tracks your behaviour of what you like and who you follow to present you with pictures also based on those aspects.
These solutions offer some extent of tracking however the development and the rapid increase of information from different internet users across the world makes it very difficult for global digital cultures to be utterly monitored.
How to Follow Global Digital Cultures, or Cultural Analytics for Beginners. In Deep Search, eds. Felix Stalder and Konrad Becker. Transaction Publishers (English version) and Studienverlag (German version), 2009