In the article algorithms are considered an interactive element in analyzing users’ online profiles. These analytics are what Tufekci refers to as “algorithmic gatekeeping.” In my inference the gatekeeping refers to the “answer,” for example the user finds him/herself stumbling upon a Buzzfeed article about what kind of puppy they are on their Facebook newsfeed after viewing their local animal shelter webpage. The “answer” Tufekci mentions however, isn’t always so right or wrong. The gatekeeping element in my opinion is about what the public interacts with prior to getting to the entrance of their next path, the next gate if you will. The data analytics Facebook (and many other social media sites) uses the information and incites for things like ads, news articles, and other interactive sources. Simply put “algorithmic gatekeeping” is the process of getting from one interaction to the doorstep of the next. What we (the public) interact with initially is going to lead us to the next interaction, whether we realize our next “like” has any impact on it or not.
In the context of the article, “agency” or specifically “computational agency” refers to the online, transparent tools that control what users see, i.e. the switch from chronological timelines to ones based on what the user had previously interacted with. Tufekci goes on to support this when he says, “In Facebook’s case, the algorithmic “editing” is dynamic, all but invisible, and individually tailored.”
As public writers, the use of specific coding goes beyond the previously established spectrum of an ad on a given TV show. The advertisement was obviously geared towards its most popular audience and odds are it stopped there. The algorithmic gatekeeping is dynamic, malleable, and gives “gatekeepers” the chance to adapt their codes based on feedback from individuals. With this in mind, the gatekeepers are given the power to sway the public’s access and overall perception of a given event, whether it be an election (as discussed in the article) or a public water crisis.
With this in mind, gatekeeping can be both useful and detrimental to any campaign. In my specific focus on investment in infrastructure, the gatekeeping not only needs to surpass the general public, but needs to find itself on the desk of a private firm in the right location. How will it get there if they don’t realize that infrastructure is at risk? Will a private capital investor in San Diego really care if Pennsylvania has some of the worst bridge structures in the United States? First, my campaign needs to raise the “right” questions, it needs to bring light to the lack of quality infrastructure in the region. With the “right” questions, will come the “right” answers, meaning interest in infrastructure will increase, thus the information will become more and more tailored to users. With the tailoring of information, demographics will begin to play their role and users in the area will be exposed to the information. Once regionally spread, the “right” answers will again raise questions to lead to the final gate: investment. The complication in gatekeeping is finding the “right” niches. There aren’t any right or wrong answers specifically, BUT each click or interaction will steer one direction or another. The steering will either send an investor to the website (or article, ad, etc.) of my investment campaign on infrastructure, or to another page such as land and mineral acquisition.