Over the past few decades, with the expansion of the Internet and big data, as well as new approaches to user interaction, content generation and new models of access to information, many new opportunities and challenges have arisen as to how we acquire, produce and consume information. The majority of internet users are not aware of these practices and the types of algorithms used, as well as algorithms’ role in mediating and manipulating how we access information online.
Networked journalism, a recent trend through the development of Web 2.0 and 3.0 technologies such as microblogging and social media gave birth to a new form of interaction between the traditional notion of journalism and the public (Beckett, 2010). Over-expansion of smartphones and the Internet subsequently gave individuals a global voice for what they see, hear and observe. However, it also melted existing political and social structures and resulted in disengagement of citizens through an individualising process by “transforming human ‘identity’ from a ‘given’ to a ‘task’ and charging the actors with the responsibility for performing that task” (Bauman, 2000, p. 32). The charging force changes constantly through various algorithms through the development of new forms of hidden practices for collecting, filtering, mining, aggregating and disseminating data online (Bradshaw and Brightwell, 2012).
As individuals, we all read and scroll over hundreds of deaths on a daily basis when we update ourselves with current affairs. It is becoming harder and harder for me to be moved or affected by these numbers unless it relates to something close to me culturally or geographically. Something imminent. Obviously, news outlets and journalists are also aware of this and they try to provide some first-hand account of the incidents with video footage, heart-breaking images. The issue is the short-lived effect of media panics, my panics and our collective panics.