Social Media is a Constant Cycle

Concepts

Internet Algorithms
Expression
One click button
Social/Cultural Capital

Summary

Horning looks at Facebook algorithms and what they say about how we interact on Facebook. The new, Facebook Reactions, makes interacting with the site faster and less “authentic”. He also says social media requires constant, interaction with the site as algorithms construct who you are.

Quotations

“In fact, the genius of the Like button is in that it absolves users of the need to have true or complex feelings. Instead it supplies an automated, uniform positivity that attempts to preclude hostility or disliking, or any sort of intense, considered emotional engagement that might interrupt a user’s flow on the site.”
“Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what you react to or what your specific reaction is: When the algorithms process it, it becomes “true to who you really are.”’

Commentary

As for the last quote, I think that goes for all social media. Algorithms are defining us on social media as they control the things that we see and how we see the social media platform. Example, as someone who follows an Asian American news site, the first thing I see logging into Facebook today is a headline/link that read’s “Doctor dragged off plane hits back at United in court”. I’ve clicked on links that this new site has posted previously, so when I do login it is usually the first story that I see on my timeline. It’s catered to my interests, in order to get me to use the site more.
I think algorithms have good intentions, wanting to create a platform catered to my interests but I also think algorithms don’t necessarily work out all the time. Example: For a while every time I would go to my Instagram’s Explore page, I would always see things pertaining to the show, One Tree Hill. *I do not watch that show, have never seen the show and don’t even know what’s it’s about.* The only reason why it was showing up was because I watched a show that had an actress who just so happened to have starred on OTH. This started because I once clicked on a post of OTH, curious about what it was and when I realized it was for a show that I had never watched before, dismissed it and went about my scrolling. From that, I assume Instagram decided that I must have been a OTH junkie and kept on posting stuff from there. It was frustrating cause I didn’t understand these posts and really wanted it to go away as it wasn’t relevant or interested me.

Example

BuzzFeed News investigated Facebook to see if Facebook filters are real which algorithms have a large part in creating. This reporter liked a lot of right wing pages to see if it would affect the content that comes up on Facebook and Facebook definitely catered to those right wing ideals that he had liked, changing his Facebook experience.

Question

Do you think Internet algorithms can be a problem or are a nice addition to the Internet world, given that they can cater to the interests of a user?
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