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.