Assignment 1: Proposal-
We can all agree that Facebook connects us to family and friends from all over the world. We come together via particular interests shared through friends as well as exposure to different news segments, we can also agree that Facebook can dramatically effect us through online bullying and what generally appears on our newsfeeds. Through the exploration of how newsfeeds work, a strong but confusing algorithm appears. So are we influenced by Facebook or are we helping create what we are influenced by?
Within a research paper conducted by Tim Paek, Michael Gamon, Scott Cunts, David Maxwell Chickering and Aman Dhesi they run through a set number of research projects which support their statement of predicting the importance of newsfeeds and posts to users through Facebooks algorithm. This particular paper supports the idea that the ‘specific’ media popping up on individual user’s newsfeeds are in fact caused by what or who we have interacted with on Facebook.
Are algorithms filtering through there own predictions of what you may and make not like though, while pairing it with something that someone else has found popular? This can create a newsfeed not entirely created by users thus Facebook is the influencer.
A particular paper conducted by the department of Statistics, Stanford University looks at one particular data set regarding ‘investigation of diffusion through a large social media network.’ With a focus on Facebook pages and the way information is filtered and passed on between users we can see how quick something can go viral based on a ‘short diffusion chain’ as discussed by Cameron A. Marlow. With users beginning to create what they want to go viral and how quick they can make it happen, it is easy to understand that what appears in our newsfeed goes hand in hand, with what we are able to diffuse.
In turn, Tim Paek and Stanford university share the same idea that what we do on the internet greatly effects what we view on our newsfeeds all due to the generative algorithm. But how effective are these algorithms. Do we as users take particular attention of what is and isn’t on our newsfeeds?
Cross cutting content is explored by Eytan Bakshy, expressing the concern of newsfeeds becoming dense and misinforming by leaving out and filtering newsfeeds of particular news topics. There are many negatives to becoming your own influence through algorithms, with one main cause clearly expressed by Bakshy, we are only being exposed to what the selective majority of active users are cross cutting.
Introducing a concept known as ‘filter bubbles,’ Solomon Messing and Sean J. Westwood suggest that content has to be given to us in the first place before anyone can curate and filter through it, therefore suggesting that the media may be influential until the user decides how to best interact with it, thus creating the starting point for the algorithm to generate a filter. This supports Bakshy’s idea of cross cutting content through the process of curation and exposure of specifically selected content.
My research therefore will be entirely based on what sources of media users are exposed to on their newsfeeds. This will portray what they are most interested in, exposing whether we are indeed our own influence online through Facebook newsfeeds or whether Facebook influences us.