Blue feed, red feed
For homework you blogged about the conservative, liberal, and mainstream filter bubbles your groups described on Thursday. You were asked questions about how these feeds shared or isolated certain stories, provided sources and/or links, or were credible after reading laterally. Two questions:
- What did you write about? What surprised you?
- What claims did you encounter that are just begging to be checked?
- If there’s time, let’s compare filter bubbles for coverage of the national anthem during NFL games that were played on Sunday.
Filter bubbles, continued
I asked you to watch this TED Talk by Eli Pariser for today on filter bubbles, so let’s begin by making this 2011 talk more relevant. In your groups, take 10-15 minutes to read the Pariser quotation and complete the related task. Be ready to share your findings with the class and explain how they demo the aspect of filter bubbles Pariser is discussing in your assigned quotation.
“Even if you’re logged out, one engineer told me, there are 57 signals that Google looks at — everything from what kind of computer you’re on to what kind of browser you’re using to where you’re located — that it uses to personally tailor your query results. Think about it for a second: there is no standard Google anymore.”
Task: Do a search for “Google Analytics” and see what this tool can do. What some of the features of Analytics that any web designer can use to track or influence readers?
“There are a whole host of companies that are doing this kind of personalization. Yahoo News, the biggest news site on the Internet, is now personalized — different people get different things. Huffington Post, the Washington Post, the New York Times — all flirting with personalization in various ways. And this moves us very quickly toward a world in which the Internet is showing us what it thinks we want to see, but not necessarily what we need to see.”
Task: Which of your online accounts have personalization settings? Which of these can you turn off? Do some poking around the web to see if you can find advice on this and be ready to share some tips with us.
“…what’s in your filter bubble depends on who you are, and it depends on what you do. But the thing is that you don’t decide what gets in. And more importantly, you don’t actually see what gets edited out.
Task: Visit the site Blue Feed, Red Feed, play around with the filter bubbles, and read the methodology. Be ready to explain it to the class.
“What we’re seeing is more of a passing of the torch from human gatekeepers to algorithmic ones. And the thing is that the algorithms don’t yet have the kind of embedded ethics that the editors did. So if algorithms are going to curate the world for us, if they’re going to decide what we get to see and what we don’t get to see, then we need to make sure that they’re not just keyed to relevance. We need to make sure that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important ”
Task: What are some of the factors that go into Facebook’s algorithms? List them and tell us which of these give users some control.
Homework for Thursday, 9/28
- Read Caulfield’s chapters on using scholarly sources to read laterally, including:
- “Stupid journal tricks”
- “Finding a Journal’s Impact Factor“
- “Using Google Scholar…“
- “How to Think About Research” and
- “Finding High Quality Secondary Sources“
- “Choosing Your Experts First“
- Use your 5th WordPress post to go upstream on a news report that cites a recent study. (For some of you who have already blogged about a recent study, feel free to pick up where you left off.) If you’re stuck, type “recent study” into Google and click the “News” tab at the top. Like so:
Once you find a news story that cites a study or piece of scholarship, go upstream to find that original study. [Note: You may have to log in to Rowan’s library to access some of these.]
Even if you cannot find the actual study, use the strategies from the chapters above to check the credibility of the journal and the expertise of the author(s). If you get stuck on one strategy, discuss it in your post, but move to another. Not all journals will have an impact factor and not all authors can be easily found in Google Scholar, but you should seek both. Ultimately your goal is to use these search strategies to “accurately summarize the state of research and the consensus of experts in a given area, taking into account majority and significant minority views.”