In John Durham Peters’ Chapter on Mass Media, he brings up the idea that “you cannot not communicate” in his section on the loose coupling of sending and receiving broadcasts. He recognizes the cookies, for example, may help track some sort of engagements with digital media, but he seemed to downplay the possibilities.
And perhaps I am thinking about this communication (or not not communication) more in terms of networks, both in regards to search engines and social media. Facebook is of course an easy target for this discussion.
Just last we noted how many “likes” we might make in a year and how much information about us can actually be derived from those seemingly low level engagements. Facebook is knowledgeable about our non communication in other ways as well. When we begin to type a post and ultimately decide not to hit enter, they know what was typed and deleted.
Similarly with search engines, just typing in a query communicates information about both us as individuals or in aggregate, guiding what results and advertisements we see. Eszter Hargittai starts to explore the many possible issues around our use and expectations of search engines, and it’s interesting to see how the development of certain issues over the past ten years have such an impact in our lives today.
All of this helps establish our “filter bubbles” diminishing the possible expanses of our networks in our information gathering and social media consumption. Of course there’s a chrome extension so you can see your filter bubble, specifically the political biases of your facebook friends and news feed. So while we still can’t get out of these bubbles, at least we have a pretty visualization of them!