11: Algorithms and Audiences


  1. How do new content creators and writers focus on how their target audiences perceive them without putting too much energy into the possible sorting and distribution of their content. Would focusing on algorithms take away from the effective or purpose of the content?
  2. As a writer or content creator, is thinking about algorithms similar to thinking about SEO, (Search Engine Optimization) when creating a text specifically for online distribution and visibility?

John Galagher’s article, Algorithmic Audiences, was both an interesting and enlightening. Much like Kes, I associate the term, algorithms, with mathematics, and first thought that the text would go into the calculating of target audiences or something close to or related to that. But I was surprised once I realized it had less to do with numbers and more to do with directions or instructions to accomplish something. Galagher uses the example of a “A cooking recipe”, as a “everyday algorithm” (1).  I thought this was a good way to transition us into the uses of algorithm within media. A cook book does have everything laid out for the readers to quickly find what they’re looking for in order to make their meal correctly, thus giving them their desired results.

I’ve realized recently that everything I view on social media and other websites start to mix together. I’ll see an advertisement for a dress I looked at on Fashion Nova’s website, while I’m scrolling down my Instagram newsfeed. I made this connection when Galagher mentioned how, “Google uses algorithms to structure its search results. Social Media companies use algorithms to structure what users see in their newsfeeds…Amazon uses an algorithm to determine what products to show customers as they peruse the website” (1). I understood what this meant because I’ve realized everything I see is controlled or strategically placed. But I wonder how, when writing and creating, do people take this into account. I’m thinking it might stifle the creativity, but from what Galagher is saying, it kind of sounds like it either adds to it or allows deeper level of creativity after the initial text is completed. I’m still a little bit confused but intrigued at the idea of the relationship between algorithms and audiences.


Word: 369

Work Cited:

Gallagher, John R. “Writing for Algorithmic Audiences.” Computers and Composition, 2017, p. 25-35.