11: Algorithms as Audience? No Thanks.

I don’t think I’ve ever explicitly thought of web writing as something different from other types of writing, but rather I feel like I’ve always silently accepted and not questioned the vast differences between the two. As a creative writer, I often loathe the ease the internet brings to the field of publishing. It becomes very easy for anyone to say they’ve been published many times, and to muddle one’s actual merit and credentials.

My base knowledge of algorithms in the vein of web publishing (prior to the reading of this article) left me with disdain over the influence they ultimately carry.

I really don’t like the concept of an algorithm as an audience. It makes sense with the way technology is evolving, but there’s something very unsettling about having to appeal to a machine rather than a human being in order to get to an intended or desired audience.

However, I did very much like the point Gallagher made that “algorithms have no intentions (26). They lack the human element of understanding the audience, and thus somehow have more humanity than corporations trying to mindlessly sell people things, be it a text or product and involving monetary exchange or not. At the same time, they’re designed by people to be an audience for everything being thrown on the internet, to sort and assign, and they become in turn the audience texts attempt to market to, in hopes of being circulated. It’s a bit of a wobbly cycle, with the algorithm acting as audience on many different fronts.

I’m very interested in the subtle intricacies of words and their meanings, and how they shape the way terms are used in various fields, so I encourage everyone to check out the breakdown and definition of the word algorithm in a general sense:



Two open-ended discussion based questions:

What do you think is the next big addition/alteration when it comes to algorithms as an audience? What piece of technology what might aid us in the pursuit of a “perfect” algorithm?

Are algorithms more effective than people at finding appropriate audiences for texts? Why or why not?


Word Count: 372

Works Cited

Gallagher, J.R. Writing for Algorithmic Audiences. 2017.