3 Replies to “Algorithmic play”

  1. Hi Suzanne,
    I was inspired by your line: ‘Does YouTube know me better than I do?’. I find the idea worrying yet many of the algorithms we come into contact with are in fact continuously ‘observing’ us and our ‘movements’.
    I enjoyed your description of how you went about testing the algorithm and the bafflement at trying to figure out if there was any pattern to the algorithm, especially since it seemed intent of recommending videos from way back. I did try youtube at one point and, likewise, it tended to bring up content from time ago, possibly because I had searched for it while being logged into my account.
    I also believe that Youtube like other content platforms push content not on the basis of what we see but also on other factors such as those generating likes by others.
    Thanks for the great artefact.

  2. I love your artifact, thank you for sharing, Susanne!
    While doing this algorithmic play, I had the same experiences as yours.
    I never clicked and watched coronavirus, because I’m Korean living in China at the moment, so I’m tired of information from Korea and China. But youtube, twitter are suggesting me to see coronavirus-related videos and twits, so I just thought it was topical. But although you searched coronavirus on Google, but not so many contents popped up which is weird.
    Given the circumstance that algorithm is black-boxed, it is inevitable that I have a doubt social media’s algorithms may just make us click more without contexts so that they can strengthen their positions on the internet world.

  3. Great artefact, Susanne, and really like the scrolling story/presentation style – very appropriate to the endless scrolling we often do on social media!

    Interesting to see the kids’ videos appearing, and that you’ve tracked it down to perhaps what was an algorithm change. Also, you reflect on the apparent random nature of some of the results. This all appears to speak to the ‘emergent and constantly unfolding’ (and sometimes random) nature of algorithms that Kitchin (2017: 21) discusses.

    As you point out, the non-transparent “black boxed” algorithms, obscured by technical aspects inaccessible for many and further complicated by the messy network of different connections, inputs and reactions – not to mention the surrounding social aspects, commercial agendas, ideologies and so on – makes it very difficult to research algorithmic systems (Kitchin 2017: 21).

    Your artefact really highlighted this, and has been a thought provoking and reflective piece of work – thank you!

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