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)


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Cosimo Accoto

Research Affiliate at MIT | Author "Il Mondo Ex Machina" (Egea) | Philosopher-in-Residence | Business Innovation Advisor | www.cosimoaccoto.com

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