Why do social media algorithms foster genericness?

Under the title “The tyranny of the algorithm: why every coffee shop looks the same”, The Guardian has a very interesting longread that touches on the complex twisting between digital media and urban place.

The author, who just had a new book out called “Filterworld: How Algorithms Flattened Culture” , takes a closer look at the “hipster coffee shop” that looks basically the same in every city in the world. For one type of audience this feels very welcoming and familiar whole for others these global ‘spaces of flow’ as Castells called them are exclusionary. Quote:

If these places were all so similar, though, what were they authentic to, exactly? What I concluded was that they were all authentically connected to the new network of digital geography, wired together in real time by social networks. They were authentic to the internet, particularly the 2010s internet of algorithmic feeds.

I shared the article with my current class Urban Mobile Media, in the MA program New Media & Digital Culture, with these words:

I wanted to share this recent article in The Guardian that ties together so many issues we’ve been discussing in our course so far: mobile work & digital nomads, data & algorithms, situatedness and place-making, Instagrammable cities, authenticity, homogeneity. Well worth the read!

Link to article >>

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