Friday, March 31, 2017

The Worldwide Web

            “Our media is a perfect reflection of our interests and desires” (Pariser, Eli). At this very moment, there are billions of people using the Internet. The Internet has the power to change the way we think, the way we learn, and the way in which we perceive the world. Not only is the worldwide web beneficial and entertaining, it also “revolves around us” (Pariser, Eli).
            Based on information received in class, a filter bubble is a series of algorithms that decide what we see and what we do not see, based on our personal interests and the person we claim to be. I have been a member of Facebook since 2008, and since that time, I have ‘liked’ thousands of posts and invited hundreds of friends to join my network. Out of these 900+ friends, why is it that I only see posts from a small number of them? How come every time I click on my news feed I see post from a high school classmate, Annie, and my sister, Cierra? These questions have crossed my mind several times and finally I have a reasonable explanation for these previously unanswered questions.
            Computer systems contain algorithms, which perform calculations documenting every move an individual makes on a computer. Through these algorithms, analysts are able to “mine our e-mails for ‘insights about our productivity, our treatment of co-workers, our willingness to collaborate or lend a hand, our patterns of written language, and what those patterns reveal about our intelligence, social skills, and behavior’” (Pasquale. Frank). In doing this, computers are able to personalize every person’s research done on the Internet. Jennifer Rome mentioned, that dating websites, like Tinder, use algorithms to “sort through who would be a ‘good catch’” for the individual participating in the websites services.
          So back to the big question, why do I always run into the same individuals when scrolling through Facebook? It is because my Macintosh computer, and every link I click on while searching the web, takes documentation of my interests and desires in order to show me what it thinks I want to see. It isn’t often that I encounter opinions other than my own in my media world but when I do I often keep scrolling, paying no mind to the post. I have never unfollowed somebody because of varying beliefs but I have unfollowed people who post inappropriate images on a regular basis.
            Our media, this is a phrase that can have both positive and negative connotations associated with it. It can be frightening to think about the invisible hands that transport our information to various systems circulating throughout the web. Nonetheless, if media is personalized to us, we are not overwhelmed by the several billion videos, images, and articles that are out there about every topic we search for; we are only shown the information that we want to see. The worldwide web is much more than just an information system, it is a sticky web, catching and processing every bit of the information thrown its way. 

Pariser, E. (2011). The User is the Content. In The Filter Bubble (chapter 2). Retrieved from

Pasquale, F. (2015). Digital Reputation in an Era of Runaway Data. In The Black Box Society (chapter 2). Retrieved from

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