11: Algorithmic Audiences

Much like Jade, the only experience that I know I’ve had with algorithms is through social media, specifically Instagram and the way it organizes it’s timeline. As Jade mentioned in her article, it’s not necessarily the greatest. Even though these algorithms can have negative views in the eyes of the audience, they are very helpful for circulation and distribution. Gallagher brings algorithms into the context of Facebook to show how algorithms impact these concepts: “If a student writes a post that receives numerous ‘likes’ on Facebook, for instance, that post will be prioritized in the newsfeed of that student’s friends–even if it is not the most recent. The student might also comment on an older photograph with many ‘likes’ in order to push that post back into the newsfeed of their friends” (Gallagher 26). By understanding how these algorithms work, people can almost manipulate how often their posts are circulated based off of their popularity, bringing the human and nonhuman factors that Gallagher mentions together.

Understanding this process allows writers to recognize that “people (i.e. teachers, student peers, friends) will still read web-writing and content, but other readers exist, including corporate search engines like Google and Bing as well as social media algorithms” (Gallagher 28). Taking this into account, writers who are specifically writing for audiences on the internet must also write in a way to gain the attention of search engines in order to grow their reader base. This is something that I’ve never really thought of until now; I never really knew how search engines like Google or Bing decide what is most relevant to show out of millions of search results. It’s interesting to note that the writers of the articles and websites that are showing up in the first few result pages are doing the exact same thing that student in Gallagher’s example is doing: “writing for algorithmic audiences by identifying a particular set of algorithmic procedures that will enable their writing to be read more widely” (Gallagher 27).


  1. How does knowing the fact that people manipulate the results in a search engine via identifying and writing towards the algorithms affect the trustworthiness of the results?
  2. As a writer/creator, how do you maintain artistic integrity while also tailoring the work/piece to these algorithms in order to reach a  larger audience?

Word Count: 383

Works Cited

Gallagher, John R. “Writing for Algorithmic Audiences.” Computers and Composition, Science Direct, Sept. 2017, www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S8755461516300652?via=ihub.