Exams…

In this week’s blog, I will quickly go over what I would like to do for my exam for DIKULT 303: Digital Media Aesthetics.

 

As you may know my thesis research handles about how people are aware of the fact that what they see on Facebook is filtered tot heir needs and interests. Pariser called this phenomenon ‘the filter bubble’. As I started reading more and more about the topic, I came to realize that it is interwoven with a lot of other topics as well. Or rather that it involves a lot of different ones. Algorithmic Awareness, online news, content diversity, recommender systems, Google and Facebook are just a few of them.

 

As more and more people start to consider Facebook as a news source, we need to make sure that the platform offers enough different stances on issues and conflicting information as the traditional media. If not we risk falling in a vicious circle where our view on the world and interests keep being reinforced because of our lack of exposure to conflicting information and ideologies.

 

Looking at it, I would like to make a sort of mini-literature review, like those that you find in an academic article for the exam assignment. First starting with why the topic of Filter Bubbles is important in today’s society, thus giving the scientific and societal value of the research, followed by an overview on the implications, critiques and past research and findings on the filter bubble and online news consumption.

At the moment my idea is to link this issue to the so-called cognitive-dissonance theory in social psychology. This states that we don’t like seeing information that conflict with our view on the world, as well in the fact that we feel uncomfortable when our actions go against our ideas. This is closely linked to the confirmation bias-theory, which argues that we seek out information that reinforces our ideology.

 

In summary the structure of my paper would thus be the following: start by giving the societal value of research on the topic, which is closely tied to the recent media-use statistics. Next would then be the academic value by giving an overview on what has already been said/done on the topic and where there are still flaws that need to be given attention. These two parts would in essence comprise the introduction to the literature review. The second part, the actual literature review would be made up in three different sections, starting with the cognitive dissonance theory, as this is the theoretical framework out of which I would look at the issue. The proceeding two parts would first be an explanation of the filter bubble (what has been written about it) and secondly a look at how people are aware of it, by looking at literature about algorithmic awareness.

 

This is roughly an idea on how I would like to organise the assignment. A lot of it still depends on my discussion about it with my professor. I am also still not sure on the theoretical framework that I would use in my thesis. On the hand, the cognitive dissonance theory says a lot about how people handle their view on the world and information opposing it, but the other viewpoint, namely Gatekeeping-theory, says a lot more about news dissemination and what information makes it through. In the latter case algorithms could thus be seen as a form of gatekeepers that decide what information the user will see.

 

As you can see, the last part is still a mystery even for me. In general this is how I would like to do the assignment though.


Social Media and its Impact on the Music Industry

So for my contribution to the e-book, I was thinking of submitting a paper that looks at how social media has changed the way the music industry works.

I’ve done some similar work before, looking at how Spotify has affected musicians compared to the old model of the pre Napster days. In this case I think I would keep it simple and look at how Facebook has changed the game when it comes to reaching your audience, building said audience and connecting with it. Before social media came along there existed much more mystery regarding bands and musicians and most of what you could find out about them came from tabloids or from music magazines. I happen to know a band that managed to have an impact riiiiight before the great age of piracy came about, and so I would like to interview them and get their opinion of how they feel the industry has changed and how it has affected them.

I would obviously also connect this to factual statistics, as well as relevant readings where it can be found. There hasn’t been too much written about this yet, that I can find, but I’m sure there’s good stuff out there.

The paper would be presented in a sort of investigative manner, I think.
I know that, right now, the music industry is making more money than it ever did back in the heyday of vinyl/CD’s, but the peripheral artists are suffering more than they used to, it seems. One of the reasons behind this, I believe, is social media. At the same time, it also seems to be a great way of communicating with your fans and reaching a broader audience–so there’s a paradox here that would be fun to explore.

I’m also a big fan of making webpages, so if it’s possible, it would be fun to present the paper as a sort of narrative webpage where you click your way forwards to the conclusion. Much like several articles do on the web, I guess. Or perhaps create a Youtube-video where I outline my findings backed by some visual design to complement what I’m saying.