An exploration of the inner dynamics of algorithmic media

  • Martina Skrubbeltrang Mahnke (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesLecture and oral contribution


As more and more information is algorithmically mediated how can we still be informed citizens? This is the main question I explore in my research on algorithmic media. Specifically, I try to understand the inner dynamics shaping the algorithm-user-relationship. Recent studies on algorithms tend to overlook the role of the user, which plays a much larger role than current research acknowledges. Therefore, I propose a shift of perspective from algorithmic structure towards the algorithm-user-relation. Hence, the aim of this research is to examine how algorithms and their users are interrelated. Drawing on the "communicative other" (Gunkel, 2012) as a conceptual framework and 24 qualitative interviews, I identify four analytical concepts that shape the interrelation. By outlining algorithmic media as reiterating communication episodes between the algorithm and its user this research provides a valuable contribution towards understanding the dynamics of algorithmic media. In conclusion, I use the analysis as a stepping stone to examine the role of algorithmic media in relation to the modern imperative of being an ‘informed citizen’ and herewith add to the current debate examining the social implications of algorithms. Furthermore, I discuss which action possibilities users may have and what specific competencies may be needed to prevent potential risks such as unbalanced information and information void.
Period22 Sep 2015
Held atUniversity of Münster/Germany, Germany