Everett Cafe News: Grassroot Algorithms: A New Book Display on Social Media, late January through FebruaryRemember the Arab Spring revolutions in 2011 and the toppling of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt? Social media was credited for helping start and continue those revolutions. Fast forward to present day when Russian bots probably influenced voters in our last presidential election by feeding us false stories that confirmed biases and isolated us in our positions even more. Social media allows us to build communities that reflect our likes and passions which makes it feel like a grassroot movement. But, when there are algorithms saying ‘you two should be friends because you both believe the world is flat’, is that still grassroots?
Can social media exist in this dichotomy of grassroots and algorithms? Is it changing our behavior, or just reflecting actions that we have always manifested? Isn’t it just giving us a way to amplify all of our IRL behaviors? Or are we making smaller and smaller communities that parrot back our beliefs? Can it still bring revolution? Or just pictures of cute doggos?
Grassroot Algorithms is curated by Kaitlin Kehnemuyi, Innovation Fellow specializing in Library Materials and Acquisitions.
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