Algorithmic autobiographies and fictions: a digital method

Bishop, Sophie and Kant, Tanya (2023) Algorithmic autobiographies and fictions: a digital method. The Sociological Review. pp. 1-25. ISSN 0038-0261

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In this article, we outline an original, creative method for capturing the multifaceted ways in which digital technologies shape social life. We outline a framework for engaging participants in creative writing and drawing techniques to support ‘meeting and greeting’ their ‘algorithmic selves’. Algorithmic selves offer datafied reflections of individuals’ social media use, represented through platform approximated advertising categories. These categories include identities, such as ‘female’ or ‘male’, and marketing interests as ‘dog lovers’, ‘first time buyers’ or ‘feminists’. Our method builds on Les Back’s calls for ‘a more artful form of sociology’ that is able to think with technology. By using algorithmic selves to mobilise creative enquiry in this way, we argue that researchers can better discern how technology users make sense of their data, the ways in which identity can be co-constructed by social media platforms, and how our interactions with technology ultimately shape social lives in meaningful and highly affective ways. Our method offers a craft-based framework for understanding imaginations, associations and connections with data profiling, and making these understandings available for participant reflection and researcher analysis. This method can also support research participants in taking creative ownership and building agency around their interactions with social media platforms.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > Media and Film
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 30 Jan 2023 10:24
Last Modified: 30 Jan 2023 11:19

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