[-empyre-] Welcome to Week 3 on -empyre-: Internet/Online Representation

Anna Everett everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Wed Apr 22 02:02:00 AEST 2015

Ben, while I am not sure I have been "talked down" completely, your
comment provides fodder as I formulate more clearly my concerns with
recommender algorithms where race matters (not to dredge up that
current Cornel West and Michael Eric Dyson unfriending public split)
online identity, and ideology collide.

You remarked: "Does identity as a model become a caricature? In order
to be socially engaged online, do we unconsciously internalize these
caricatures and enforce them in order to fit the technologies we use?"

As I was contemplating your response to me, I was thinking that it is
not necessarily that I/we internalize the caricatures and enforce them
to fit the technologies, but more it has become the price of our
internet participation ticket, like accessing any software update. You
don't get to "discuss" or challenge the terms of agreement, you ether
"agree" or you do not get updated. And besides, who reads the
impenetrable legalese intended to ensure your non-reading of the terms
of agreement. Anyhow, apropos of your observation, I found this Huff
Post article quite pertinent:

"How Facebook Stalking Could Lead Women To Objectify Their Own Bodies"

Again, Ben, thanks for joining our discussion week.


On Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 3:15 PM, B. Bogart <ben at ekran.org> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello Anna,
> Your observation on the apparent identity of target marking materials is
> very interesting. I've been using an add-blocker and opting out of paper
> mailing lists for so long that I have not even thought about how a
> system's perception of my identity could be used to influence the
> appearance of people in ads. I rarely see targeted ads at all.
> What concerns me is how this process is driven; what online behaviours
> do we exhibit that were noticed by the system and taken as indicators of
> gender, ethnicity, etc.?
> Essentially, these recommender / target marketing systems model our
> behaviour in order to predict and facilitate behaviours that are
> favourable to the context of deployment. These systems may (likely do)
> capture unconscious aspects of our behaviour that are useful in
> predicting our behaviour.
> I wonder if this bypasses the very notion of identity as being an aspect
> of us in some way. We continue on to act as we do, both intentionally
> and unintentionally, and the systems we interact with increasingly
> construct a model of our identity. This model may even be at odds with
> what we think of ourselves, and yet be functional in the sense of
> predicting our behaviour. Add to that the notion of the model being the
> property of the organization collecting the data, and there is a
> potential for the organization to not only know us better than we know
> ourselves, but also own (and be able to trade) that knowledge.
> Does identity as a model become a caricature? In order to be socially
> engaged online, do we unconsciously internalize these caricatures and
> enforce them in order to fit the technologies we use?
> Ben
> On 15-04-20 12:32 PM, Anna Everett wrote:
>> So, what got me thinking,
>> and I may need you and the other co-panelists to talk me down here,
>> why are nearly all e-commerce ads being pushed to me featuring black
>> women models? I began noticing that occurring in print catalogues from
>> department stores. It is as though there is the black and white
>> consumer versions of ads.
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

Anna Everett, Ph.D.

Department of Film and Media Studies
2322 Social Sciences and Media Studies (SSMS) Bldg.
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA  93106-4010
Email:  everett at filmandmedia.ucsb.edu
Phone: 805.893.8706
Fax:   805 893.8630

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