Media Bias and Social Media

The government works to be transparent, sharing information on its own and to the media. Despite their work on being transparent, conspiracy theories are a constant throughout the media, and on social media. Many of the news organizations have been accused of being bias, and many constituents just do not know whom to trust. People have learned the best places to hang out are with like-minded individuals like themselves on social media.

Media Bias and Social Media

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Participation & Control

Process-data diagram of Open source software d...
Process-data diagram of Open source software development (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

VisiCalc was for the open source software released for the Apple II. Dan Bricklin and Bob Frankston came up with it while in Harvard Business School. It was created in 1979. These men had no idea of the vision they had.

When the iPhone came out Apple wanted to show off its software. They did this with the inclusion of the App Store and they included an app – iPhone Harmonica and I am Rich for free, which they later charged $999.99. They wanted to encourage people to create apps for their software.

Amazon when introducing its Kindle gave away George Orwell’s 1984 to millions of buyers. After fear of giving it away without expressed permission later it suddenly disappeared from all of the kindles.

Open source software allows members of the community to help each other solve problems, as opposed to being competitive. So a student is better able to learn from an advanced programmer. There is no animosity between because it is a community. They are more able to share ideas because they are working with an open source program; there is no fear of something being stolen. The members are more able to let the guard down and talk among them to solve problems as oppose to when you are competing that people are often more guarded. There is no tension and people are less likely to judge. So instead discussion is created.

The basic principles of open source in a nut shell are transparency, participation, and collaboration.

Marten Mickos, runs Eucalyptus Systems, an open source software company, in a New York Times article entitled Open Source and the Challenge of Making Money, says, “Open is not a business model, it is a production model.”

Many companies don’t have an appreciation for open source software because it is not really a money making entity. Open source software runs on the idea of the Economics of Abundance, as I read in a comment on the New York Times article) the internet changes the game. The software adds value to a community. Open source promotes innovation and evaluation. Some companies were able to find a way to make money with their product, if they were able to find other uses, or it is just another department in their business model.


Asay, M Fresh attacks on open source miss the mark 9 (JULY 31, 2014) InfoWorld

VisiCalc Wikipedia

Zittrain, J. (2010, February 3). A fight over freedom at Apple’s core.

Liao, T. (Forthcoming.). Open source challenges: The role of the android developers challenge in
shaping the development community. New Media & Society.

Hardy, Q. (July 23, 2014) Open Source and the Challenge of Making Money The New York Times

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Mobile and Locative Technologies

In the 1950s and 1960s there was no such thing as a mobile phone. If you were out, on the road, and you needed to make a call, you had to stop at a phone booth.Make sure you had plenty of dimes, later, maybe you needed quarters, to pay for your minutes. Wait, what if your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and there isn’t a phone booth within walking distance?

Times have changed, due to the advent of the cell phone. If our car breaks down, we often can call for assistance from cell phone which we have in hand. We can text. If you have a iphone or other type of Android you can use programs such as foursquare, or swarm to let people know where we are. People are even checking in using the apps Yelp.

The most popular phone in the world is the Nokia 1100. The buttons are squishy and it is deemed indestructible. Other phones such as the iphone and the Blackberry are too delicate. The phone is used all over the world.
In July of 2014 of Consumerist it was recently reported that 41% of U.S. Homes are wireless telephone only. Where the homes are wireless mostly, all the people receive the phone calls on their cell phones. They have given up their land lines.

In the article, Mobile social networks and urban public space,” Loftland identifies three kinds of urban social space: public, parochial and private. Public spaces are territories characterized by strangers, while private spaces are territories characterized by intimates and in personal networks. Lofland suggests a third kind of urban space exists which is somewhere between the public and private spaces, namely, the parochial. Parochial spaces are territories characterized by ‘a sense of commonality among acquaintances and neighbors who are involved in interpersonal networks that are located within communities’.”

Social spaces are great because if people at times felt they didn’t want to be alone, and they saw friends were going out, they would be able to meet with them, or meet with friends of friends at local places.

The parochial space is often where people will come to meet old friends, and friends of friends via apps such as Swarm, Foursquare and Yelp. According to Loftland in a case study they did on a program that was similar at the time called Dodgeball, there are three general factors which contribute to whether members use Dodgeball messages to coordinate congregation in public spaces around the city: timing, spatial proximity and travel time.

Timing – People would get home and then receive a check-in message.

Distance – The person would receive one or more than one check-in in multiple places in the city.

Travel Time – The person would receive more than one check-in and would decide that they would rather meet up with people geographically closer. Say some were in Downtown Hartford, while others were in downtown New Haven, and the person was geographically closer to New Haven.

According the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) there are 850 million international passenger arrivals each year; and according to the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), in 2008 there were 42 million refugees across the globe according to a story in ‘The media as ‘home-making’ tools: life story of a Filipino migrant in Milan’. Migrant workers cannot live without a cell phone. They need it to get work, and to be reached at home. In some cases, it is the only way they can get in touch with their families. If they are in other countries, and they cannot telephone home, because they are overseas, they have to write to their family whether via snail mail or email, depending on the type of cell phone they own.

Humphreys, L. (2010). Mobile social networks and urban public space. New Media & Society, 12(5), 763-778

Herrman, J. (2010, October 19). The most popular phone in the world. Gizmodo.

Bonini, T(Sept 9, 2011) The media as ‘home-making’ tools: life story of a Filipino migrant in Milan, Media Culture and Society

Morran, C (July 8, 2014) 41% Of U.S. Homes Are Now Wireless-Only, Consumerist

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Television and New Media

At a time when people are fighting for net neutrality, with the Tea Party in charge of the House, and Corporations already run-a-muck in other areas in some ways television is a hot one for the people as well. Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are in a battle with Netflix all in the name of net neutrality. I mention this because for me, who deals with AT&T as a provider, although I have been a consumer of theirs for at least fifteen years, their love for me doesn’t seem to show, in the net worth of their customer service dealing with data and gatekeeping their customer. Who can watch television for a service that charges for streaming data? They want you to pay to play for small amounts of data. Myself, like many others finds other ways to compensate for their short coming. I watch DVDs I purchase, and listen to podcasts, and keep up with other information I get when I go to the library and Starbucks on my computer. I am part of the Zero TV households according to the Nielsen Co. There were five million of these residents in 2013.

Television was started for the public good and many look at it as a low culture item. People will look at the monetary value that organization which charge on places like iTunes and YouTube and feel the price of the television show is overvalued. They turn to file sharing or as others refer to as pirating from places like Pirate Bay or Bittorrent is where some people go to catch up on television they have missed. Paying for television was too expensive, and they were hardly watching the television when they had it.

Television shows are just a form of relaxation and ads. The Neilson ratings measure how many people are watching the television show and how many people are watching the ads. This might have been big at one time, but after a while when your favorite shows are cancelled after a couple of seasons, or the shows that are being aired don’t really have any substance, why stay?

Actor-Network Theory is really interesting, which to me, it is really showing interest in an actor/actress and following them throughout their career in media or perhaps in a number of different mediums. This, seen, through a socially view point, as opposed to the viewer. This would be why Hollywood in the golden age invested so much into its leading men and women. That is why we had our Cary Grants, and Judy Garlands. This is why Paramount or MGM or Disney signed actors because they wanted to keep them busy to make these actors pay out for them. If an actor was on television and was loved by the audience they were gold for a television show, or their own show or the movies.

This Actor Network Theory is still relevant, but with the advent of the internet, and the competition of other avenues of entertainment and learning, television is a less important medium for many, that is why they gave it up. I am interested in shows if my favorite actors or actresses are performing, but I find it less important because I have other forms of entertainment and education such as podcasts and books. It is not like the performance has to be seen at a particular moment because I don’t know when it will be returning. Everything is a file. If I want to see something I will be able to hunt it down.

Television has to change to compete with other channels on the internet, such as podcasts, that are providing information. Hollywood is made to appear like this untouchable icon of high class people with lots of money. The actors appear untouchable. They have competition with other content provided online. They have to be more accessible to their fans. Television has to have more diversity to reach a broader audience. The television show is going to change. People are broadcasting different styles of their own shows on Youtube and are making an impact.


Television and the Data Salt Mines Sharon Strover / The University of Texas at Austin (7/26/2014)

Engler, C. (2011, January 20). The truth about TV ratings, online viewing and sci-fi shows. Blastr.

Braun, J.A. (2013). Going over the top: Online television distribution as socio-techical system. Communication, Culture & Critique 6(3), 432–458.

Newman, M. Z. (2012). Free TV: File-sharing and the value of television. Television & New Media 13(6), 463–479.

Deggans, E 5 Things I Learned About TV’s Future From The Critics Press Tour (July 24, 2014) NPR [Link]

Nakashima, R No TV? 5 million U.S. households bid boob tube goodbye (April 8, 2013) US Today [Link]

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Games and the Gaming Industry

Parents bought their children games to keep them busy – an Xbox, Nintendo, or PlayStation. Some parents don’t like to see their children playing games all the time and would rather see them reading a book, because thinking it is a better use of their time.

Although many parents would love to see their children pick up a book. They can read about adventures on the high seas with Blackbeard, go to King Arthur’s Court, and many other adventures, expanding their imagination. We also use reading for education in schools.

What does reading do? According to Andrew Solomon there is a lot to be acquired from reading.

1. By almost all the standards we use to measure reading’s cognitive benefits-attention, memory, following threads, and so on-the nonliterary popular culture has been steadily growing more challenging over the past thirty years.

2. Increasingly, the nonliterary popular culture is honing different mental skills that are just as important as the ones exercised by reading books.

But if a child has dyslexia they may have trouble reading, and may find these skills harder to learn because they have trouble reading the words in the books and other learning disabilities.

There are games where the players will role play in the games like Dungeons and Dragons online with the many other registered users. This is a storytelling game with an adventure. Where the player is a character, whether a wizard, or a knight, in pursuit of an adventure, the player lives the life of the character level to level, working to outwit obstacles, and fight, until they have reached the highest level in the game. In these types of games you are just given a few rules, and an objective. You learn as you play.

James Paul Gee, a game scholar, broke down exactly what a gamer achieves when they play these games.

1. The player must probe the virtual world (which involves looking around the current environment, clicking on something, or engaging in a certain action).

2. Based on reflection while probing and afterward, the player must form a hypothesis about what something (a text, object, artifact, event, or action) might mean in a usefully situated way.

3. The player reprobes the world with that hypothesis in mind, seeing what effect he or she gets.

4. The player treats this effect as feedback from the world and accepts or rethinks his or her original hypothesis.

The students attend school, each student being taught by the teacher who is looking at each of their students, deciding who has and has not grasp the concepts that were just taught. If the teacher did not see it in their students faces, they will surely see it in the papers that are handed in for their next homework assignment.

Education and games is something that is not very often put together, or if often thought as to frightening terms. What would the content look like?

A game works differently. A game chooses a situation and a task, and if the student or player fails, they are forced to restart all over again, or to learn a process.
It is something like this that could help someone with a learning disability. Games have the ability to help educate our students.

Living the life of a Sim you can learn what it means to get married, work and have a family. You can also learn what it means to have social services come after you. They remind you of everything that is important. In SimCity you can learn how to plan a city and what it means to overtax and undertax the city.

In 2011, Games almost had their rights taken away, as many complained about the violence in video games, mainly the game Martal Kombat. It was The State of California vs. The Entertainment Merchants Association and the Entertainment Software Association. The judges on the case were Justice Antonin Scalia, Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts. Video games won, they have the same rights as the first amendment. They had to fight hard because they are different.

Game designers want to create a game that is worthwhile for the player, which they will enjoy. They work on content, and design for desired commitment from their players. They want their games to be worthwhile.


Johnson, S. (2005). Games. In Everything bad is good for you: How today’s pop culture is actually making us smarter (pp. 17–62). New York: Berkley Publishing Group.

O’Donnell, C. (2011, July 11). The brewing storm between games and education. Culture Digitally.

Totilo, S. (6/27/2011) First Amendment Trumps California in Supreme Court Battle Over Violent Video Games. Kotaku [Link]

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Polarization, Partisanship & Politics

While sitting in front of the television poised to watch the movie, Pleasantville, I watched as Jennifer and Greg enter the polarized town of Pleasantville, as Bud and Sally. They see, and they too are transformed with more choices and find ways to think out of the box to overcome their polarization.

We have an asymmetric polarization according to Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein. The republicans are making it worse, but both sides are to blame. This whole idea was based on a Pew Research study on polarization.

The people are not completely polarized; their choices are polarized, so many choose not to vote. They do not like their choices, and the one they want to choose they see they can’t win. The ones who do vote, choose the one that comes closes to their point of view.

Pew Research Center did a study on the Political Polarization in the American Public. It has been doing this study since 1994.This information was taken direction from the study.

The is provided from the Pew Research Center
The is provided from the Pew Research Center

The pew research study found the following in terms of Political Polarization and Personal Life.

Those on the opposite ends of the ideological spectrum disagree about everything from the type of community in which they prefer to live to the type of people they would welcome into their families.

Liberals would rather live in cities, while conservatives prefer rural areas and small towns.

Liberals are more likely than conservatives to say racial and ethnic diversity is important in a community.

Conservatives are more likely than liberals to want to live in a place where many people share their religious faith.

15% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans would be unhappy welcoming someone from the other party into their family.

49% of Americans would be unhappy if a family member were to marry someone who doesn’t believe in God.

Just 35% of Americans say most of their close friends share their views on government and politics.

This poll was mostly done with phone interviewing of people over the age of 18, who are voters in their districts.

The gallup recently did a poll entitled Party Identification Varies Widely Across the Age Spectrum. This was also done by phone interviewing. They are learning that the younger people are leaning more democratic.

This is courtesy of gallup.
This is courtesy of gallup.

Teddy Goff was the campaign staffer who oversaw Obama’s state-level new media teams during the general election and is now the digital director of the president’s reelection bid according to the article nnovation, infrastructure, and organization in new media campaigning. In Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama by D. Kreiss.  What I thought was most important was that  he had “the desire to be authentic and the desire to be super duper effective.”

Eytan Bakshy’s echo chamber is not complete dead, considering when news stories come out about that the people are passionate about, within a week or so, President Obama, or Vice President Biden, has a remark about what is to happen next (especially if the House Republicans have said something regarding the issue). Since you may follow Obama’s speeches on twitter, or on YouTube, anyone can stay well informed. Or what Obama would like to say, when the bear is ‘let loose’. He is reaching out to people and letting them know he cares. He is being social.

The Republicans and the Tea Party are holding meetings. When Thad Cochran won the Mississippi Primary Republican Seat because they don’t have official primaries and Chris McDaniel of the Tea Party cried foul because he had lost he was upset because Thad Cochran became social to fix a slight err he made in his campaign and won. McDainel thought he had Cochran when he mentioned playing with an animal sexual as a kid. All he did was add a little “Baaa Baaa” to his ad campaign and he thought he was a sure win. Cochran won the black voters.

Polarization is harmful, because there is no room for growth and change.


Thad Cochran Escapes Bitter Tea Party in Mississippi,The Daily Beast

Ornstein,N. (2014) Yes, Polarization Is Asymmetric—and Conservatives Are Worse, The Atlantic

Kreiss, D. (2012). Innovation, infrastructure, and organization in new media campaigning. In Taking Our Country Back: The Crafting of Networked Politics from Howard Dean to Barack Obama, (pp. 3–32). New York: Oxford University Press.

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Ambient Awareness & Info Overload

In 2006, (Thompson) when Mark Zuckerberg introduced to the world to Facebook, intimacy began to change for people; more people began to gather online. The internet was more than just a place to gather information, but a place to meet with old friends, and family. On Facebook, I am friends with everyone I grew up with from high school, college, and ex-collogues from work. It later grew to include people I networked with online in google hangouts. I try to converse with them when I can, or at least keep up with what they are doing online, by reading their posts. Zuckerberg’s exact quote in the Brave new world of digital intimacy article in the New York Times was “A stream of everything that’s going on in their lives.”

Robin Dunbar, (Thompson) an anthropologist, in 1998, noticed that humans and apes developed social bonds that required grooming, we do it by conversation. The human Dunbar number is normally around 150, but it can be up to how much the human brain can handle.

Their ambient awareness study (McNeal) can’t be doing that well after their mood study where they manipulated the news feeds after the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) filed formal legal documents with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against them. If Facebook manipulated people’s newsfeed’s that means that people did not receive the updates due to manipulation. People were unaware they were participating in the study until after it was finished and they didn’t even known the study parameters or possible side effects of the study.

Twitter is a customized newspaper. (Hermida) My Twitter newspaper would include all the people I follow in my social network. That would include a mix of recipes, quotes, news, leadership, and etc. The information I enjoy reading. It also includes people with whom I have networked. It also includes people I follow in podcasts. I will “retweet” or share data just as they do with me.

Here is the story of Michael Jackson’s death on Twitter.

I was on Twitter when Michael Jackson was rushed to the hospital. I still remember seeing a tweet from Ryan Seacrest who was reporting Michael Jackson’s death. He just happened to be the first person I saw that reported his death on twitter and he was the person the scene. Michael Jackson died of a heart attack June 25, 2009 at 5:41pm unconfirmed. The person on the scene was Ryan Seacrest. TMZ reported Michael Jackson’s death while Jackson was still in a coma, so it was unconfirmed. It went out 6:03pm EST that Jackson died of a cardiac arrest which was confirmed. All the fans on twitter who loved Jackson reported TMZs because they followed TMZ, and so did any news station such as NBC. So the news did correct itself as the information came available.

Twitter as provided links for articles that are so hot, I can see people writing comments writing from minute to minute, and people live, picketing in front of buildings. When the New York City gas explosion causes building collapse, I was there, watching live video footage, as it was happening in Harlem.


McNeal, G (2014, July 4), Facebook NewsFeed Manipulation Prompts FTC Complaint, Investigation Possible [Link]

Thompson, C. (2008, September 5). Brave new world of digital intimacy. New York Times Magazine.

Hermida, A. (2010). Twittering the news: The emergence of ambient journalism. Journalism Practice, 4(3), 297–308.

Holpuch, A. (March 13, 2014) Six dead after New York City gas explosion causes building collapse, The Guardian. [Link]

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Virtual Groups & Online Communities

“Loosely defined, groups consist of two or more individuals interacting in such a manner that each person is influenced by and exerts influence on the other individuals (e.g., Shaw, 1976). Definitions often maintain that members must be copresent for a group to exist, such as Hogg’s (1992) statement that the group is “essentially a numerically small face-to-face collection of individuals interacting to perform a shared task or fulfill shared goals” (p. 30),” according to Katelyn Y. A. McKenna’s Virtual group dynamics.

There are some virtual groups that do meet in person, a good example would be Meetup. They will have some discussions, and information online for their members beforehand. This is a timesaver.

The best way to judge might be to answer the seven questions asked in the article Net-surfers don’t ride alone.

1. Are relationships on the Net narrow and specialized or are they broadly based? What kinds of support can one expect to find in virtual community?

2. How does the Net affect people’s ability to sustain weaker, less intimate, relationships and to develop new relationships? Why do Net participants help those they hardly know?

3. Is support given on the Net reciprocated? Do participants develop attachment to virtual communities so that commitment, solidarity and norms of reciprocity develop?

4. To what extent are strong, intimate relationships possible on the Net?

5. What is high involvement in virtual community doing to other forms of “real-life” community involvement?

6. To what extent does participation on the Net increase the diversity of community ties? To what extent do such diverse ties help to integrate heterogeneous groups?

7. How does the architecture of the Net affect the nature of virtual community? To what extent are virtual communities solidary groups (like traditional villages) or thinly-connected webs? Are virtual communities like “real-life” communities? To what extent.

Groups online can be in the form of communities on reddit, Google Plus, Linkedin and other platforms. On Reddit people can get help with resume critiques, homework help and as well as find out about the college you are attending, say, Quinnipiac University. Yahoo has groups. You can join the on Facebook. You can also find out what is going on in some local towns. People get help from others. On Reddit, many people ask questions under the appropriate reddit and as long as they community policy, they should receive an answer. The groups are moderated. Anyone can create a community.

Disney has which is a whole bunch of forums dedicated to their parks, campgrounds, cruise ships, and etc fun, that let their customers interact and also know about discounts so they can come and visit.

Disney uses their forums to keep their customers returning, and lets them know of developing changes that they should be aware of as consumers. The forum lets Disney know of any possible problems they can prevent of their end that can make the customer’s stay that much better.

Communities can also get into trouble. The MPAA recently targeted a community on Reddit, r/fulllengthfilms which showed full length films that were on Google showing Aero movies online. They joined the group because the loved watching movies.

Apparently people were posting movies on google they also downloaded from P2P. Google received a DMCA copyright violation, and Google was asked by the MPAA to remove the entire group from its search engine.


McKenna, K.Y.A. (2002). Virtual group dynamics. Group Dynamics, 6(1), 116–127.

Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1999). Net-surfers don’t ride alone: Virtual communities as communities. Networks in the global
village: Life in contemporary communities (pp. 331–366). New York: Westview Press.

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Impression Management Online

Kids, fulfilling the responsibilities to their parents and school, aren’t able to spend all the time they would like to with their friends. Find delight in their spare time creating a MySpace page, Twitter, or be on snapchat communicating and sending messages to their friends. With pages like MySpace they invite their friends to join in the fun. Sometimes they would message in secret.

There are two types of public unmediated publics from networked publics. Is your audience visible or invisible?

These four properties are the fundamentals of a mediated public according to danah boyd in Why youth (heart) social network sites. A great example of this is Twitter:

1 Persistence: this means what you have written is recorded for eternity. When you publish on what you written can be found always.

2 Searchability: It is searchable. You can see the first item someone published.

3 Replicability: Someone can republish something that someone published.

4 Invisible audiences: There are people listening that we do not know about.

Erving Goffman in the article states “Impression management is a part of a larger process where people seek to define a situation through their behavior. People seek to define social situations by using contextual cues from the environment around them. Social norms emerge out of situational definitions, as people learn to read cues from the environment and the people present to understand what is appropriate behavior.”

As an adult this is oh, so true, as you can leave an impression on Facebook that can get you fired from your position. This is something Stacy Snyder discovered one day when she went to a party and a picture was posted of her at a party and she was let go from her job. The picture was posted on MySpace, but obviously the space was not just seen by her friends in her space. She thought she had first amendment rights but that was not what the judge said. In a New York Times article by

Jeffrey Rosen states that everyone now lives with a scarlet letter.

The youth and the predators will even go as far as create or experiment with a digital body or profile and someone who perhaps may be fictional, risks the chance of being found out. You learn the signs on Craigslist for fake email addresses and jobs. You learn the signs for fake profiles on Facebook and Twitter. Many have learned to see through the fakers online. You learn to stay away. There are signs that are different that a name you give yourself like Neil gave to himself on The Matrix. That was his persona.

The problem with impressions is that they never go away. Everyone makes mistakes. Because of the web we may have to keep on apologizing for those mistakes. On the other hand we live in an age of transparency. If corporations are allowed to live with their mistakes, people should be able to live with their mistakes. Corporations just throw money at their mistakes to make them go away, but they don’t go away, because people remember, the corporations don’t care. Corporations are much harder on people, yet the people are such some cogs in the bits in pieces of the organization. They don’t hold themselves as accountable as the people, because the people have to represent them.


boyd, d. (2007). Why youth (heart) social network sites: The role of networked publics in teenage social life. In D. Buckingham (Ed.), Youth, Identity, and Digital Media (pp. 119-142). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Rosen, J. (2010, July 21). The Web means the end of forgetting. New York Time

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Search and Algorithmic Surfacing Lecture

Algorithms do many things in the world of search. They can track trends.

According to Tarleton Gillespie in The Relevance of Algorithms, there are six dimensions which algorithms as Gillespie has a political valence:

1. Patterns of inclusion – the making of the index – what is included and excluded

2. Cycles of anticipation – Prediction what the audience will do next

3. The evaluation of relevance – Determining in a search what is relevant

4. The promise of algorithmic objectivity – Impartial information that is provided in an objective manner

5. Entanglement with practice – Users change their practices based on the information provided by the search

6. The production of calculated publics – information is backed by the public and backed by benefit of knowledge

These six pieces always play an important piece in search, because even if the search algorithms are tweaked and updated, they will always affect those six dimensions above.

These algorithms affect a company’s search engine optimization (SEO). Companies should be using white hat forms of content creation as oppose to back hat, if not search engines like Google will punish them for it.

In the beginning, many companies built their companies using Google search, to build their in the 1990s. Neil Moncrief is a business man mention in The Search Economy, as a business man who suffers as a business man who suffers as Google tweaks their search, and suddenly finds that his business is not making any money.

I worked for a business which started in 1999, and made a contract with a well known magazine in their market, paving the way for other competitors. When Google changed tweaked their search results, they were out of luck. They had to answer to investors and they did not understand what was going on and like many others, their business tanked. Suddenly no money was coming in.

Google had to tweak their searches because in many cases they were sued. For instance, they were sued by American Blinds, because other companies were using items pertaining to their name, and Americans claimed their company name was trademarked, so they tweaked their search, but they still ended up having to go to court. The truth is, they have been in court for years, and the case is not finished.

Google is nothing more than a middle man. They are the intermediary between the person searching and the person creating.

Even now the courts but pressure on Google to change their algorithms to grant the courts wishes such as for P2P. The one question that may be asked is when the algorithms are changed, to stop black hat advertising, to they affect businesses that are doing things as they should? Are they putting businesses out of businesses? We hear about big businesses who used some black hat SEO tactics, but despite that they are still in business (although it is my understanding that JCPenny is hurting).

What is happening to small businesses?

These algorithms to some degree make them the God of the internet, if a business can be here today and gone tomorrow, all due to an update. What happens if the Panda update doesn’t do exactly what Google says it does?


Battelle, J. (2005). The search economy. In The search: How Google and its rivals rewrote the rules of business and transformed our culture (pp. 153-188). New York: Portfolio. [Posted to “Course Materials”

Gillespie, T. (forthcoming). The relevance of algorithms. In T. Gillespie, P. Boczkowski, and K. Foot (Eds.), Media technologies: Essays on communication, materiality, and society.




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