According to techopedia.com, algorithms are defined as a step by step method of solving a problem. It is commonly used for data processing, calculation and other related computer and mathematical operations. An algorithm is also used to manipulate data in various ways, such as inserting a new data item, searching for a particular item or sorting an item.
In Gillespie’s article, “Can an Algorithm be Wrong?”, he writes the confusion that’s created that from what clouds an algorithm and it’s potential flaws.
Understanding what an algorithm is and being aware of what the outcomes of its existence are is important. We’ve discussed that the material that is presented in any social platform is not an accident or coincidence. It was carefully constructed by data that has been collected from our past clicks and searches and tailored to fit our individual “needs” and “wants” when in fact, Gillespie uncovers that this method may be wrong. It’s important to be aware that we must do in depth research before coming to a conclusion on heavy subjects to avoid being mislead by being provided one sided information.
Data: Individual units of information (Wikipedia definition); facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis (Oxford definition)
In the article “The Age of Big Data” by Steve Lohr, he uses data in a number of different definitions but essentially data is one fact or portion that once many data pieces are collected can be analyzed into information.
Lohr describes data as big data, structured and unstructured data, digital and government data. This word is important with the material that we are covering in class since without data, the social platforms we all use today wouldn’t understand their audience nor how to market their products or serves to their users. Without this knowledge, their mission and success would climb at a way slower rate or ultimately fail due to failure to provide products and serves and reach specific markets.
Data is now used to provide companies the WHO (who to target and market to), WHAT (products and serves to offer), WHEN (specific time frame when product or serves is needed/wanted), WHERE (specific areas that want and benefit from product or service, and HOW (what techniques will best reach said target). Lohr describes how these data pieces construct how marketers market which helps companies bring in revenue but data also is the creator of what information is brought to specific individuals and can have positive and negative aspects. One positive aspect is that information presented to an individual is curated to that specific persons likings based on past clicks and time spent on platforms. One negative aspect is that what is curated for that specific person may be exactly what he/she doesn’t want just from reacting to material.