On the "protocological" mechanisms of Facebook #bigdata

“In this essay, I develop an understanding of a technicity of attention in social networking sites. I argue that these sites treat attention not as a property of human cognition exclusively, but rather as a sociotechnical construct that emerges out of the governmental power of software. I take the Facebook platform as a case in point, and analyse key components of the Facebook infrastructure, including its Open Graph protocol, and its ranking and aggregation algorithms, as specific implementations of an attention economy. Here I understand an attention economy in the sense of organising and managing attention within a localised context. My aim is to take a step back from the prolific, anxiety-ridden discourses of attention and the media which have emerged as part of the so-called ‘neurological turn’ (see Carr, 2012; Wolf, 2007).1 In contrast, this essay focuses on the specific algorithmic and ‘protocological’ mechanisms of Facebook as a proactive means of enabling, shaping and inducing attention, in conjunction with users” (Taina Bucher, Culture Machine, 3, 2012)


About Cosimo Accoto

Research Affiliate at MIT (Boston). Formerly, Partner and VP Innovation at OpenKnowledge http://www.open-knowledge.it/en/ | Books author and coauthor (recently published "Social Mobile Marketing", Egea 2014, 2e) | Digital theorist and international researcher | Analytics industry speaker | @cosimoaccoto | http://www.linkedin.com/in/cosimoaccoto | cosimo.accoto@open-knowledge.it |

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