Looking Into / Out of Filter Bubbles

For tonight’s class we are looking at how filter bubbles affect, maybe even influence us, in ways that are not directly visible. And we tie that into questions of how this drives the ad-clicking dystopia described by Zeynep Tufecki,

Here is a summary of activities we will introduce and do in class. Please tweet / reply with thoughts, questions, bubble methods, etc.

Starting Parody

These two items are related but are also part of our effort to seed you with the ideas of what networked narratives can look like.

We Sell Your Data is a complete web site parody, of how an ad driven company might be more than a bit transparent. Is there shades of truth?

Please Answer Carefully. Are you awash in requests for surveys? It seems like every interaction with a company / service wants to ask you questions. Yes, it is a method of gaining feedback, but what if… there’s more to the data gathering? Where does it go? This is an interactive narrative style which starts normal, but then something unexpected happens (maybe)

On Filter Bubbles

This is what filter bubbles actually look like (MIT Rewview) A fantastic visualization

PolitEcho – A Google Chrome extension that creates a representation of your own filter bubble based on Facebook data

Filter Bubble Study This is interesting, comparing how different people get different search results searches and that there is less a difference when logged in or out of google. We enter that searchbox with maybe the idea that the results are purely about the relevance of the results, but they differ widely from person to person, place to place

Our Own Filter Bubble Activity

Following the approach of the Filter Bubble Study, in class we will explore how own own search results of the same keywords, might differ between people, and if we are logged into google or not.

To do this, we suggest using Google Chrome and installing the Full Screen Capture extension (it allows you to make a screenshot of a full web page).

We will together brainstorm a topic that has polarized opinions, then do searches both logged in and logged out. See the Google Slide presentation; after the instructions there are blank templates for where to share your results. Compare to others.

Other factors to consider– on the Kean wireless network, we are seen as all being at the same internet location. Consider trying this activity connected via an alternate means or try at home. Do the results change?

One Extra Thing to Try

Maybe you have experienced that odd feeling of seeing an advertisement in your social media or search results for something you searched on elsewhere. Try an experiment and see if you can launch something on there and document where/if it shows up. Your mileage will vary, bubbles are not easy to predict.

Image Credit

Maestro flickr photo by AlphaTangoBravo / Adam Baker shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC) license

By Prof Alan

An early 90s builder of the web and blogging, Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling, photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He has been a part of NetNarr since 2017.

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