Are you increasingly stuck in your own digital bubble? Platforms like Instagram, Facebook and YouTube know more and more about this phenomenon, but scientists know less and less. That's why the University of Amsterdam will be at Lowlands between 19 and 21 August to map your online footprint. The researchers will gain more insight into online behaviour and participants into the strength of their own bubble.
Companies keep track of everything we do online - our so-called digital footprints - and so they know more and more about us. But scientists actually know less and less as news is increasingly consumed online. For a healthy society and democracy, it's important that people know what's going on in the world and aren't constantly being fed similar information. The Communication scientists at Lowlands will therefore use so-called data donations to investigate how this process works: are all those complaints that we all now live in our own bubbles borne out by reality?
How does it work?
These days, as users of digital platforms, we have the right to request insights into the information that is collected about us. Visitors to Lowlands can request their history from digital platforms such as Google on site and share it with the researchers. With special software, the researchers read this data and visualise it. When the data is combined with a short survey on perceptions of news, the researchers get a better picture of what participants are seeing online and how they are influenced by it.
Comparing yourself to your friends
As a participant you will also learn a lot about your own online behaviour. You receive a summary of your own digital footprint, together with some statistics and badges that allow you to compare yourself with friends. For example, you can see what data is stored about you, how varied your news consumption is, how often you use different websites and channels and at what time of day. We can’t normally access these insights for ourselves because the data is difficult to get at.
This research is part of the NEWSFLOWS project.
The research team: Anne Kroon, Zilin Lin, Mónika Simon en Damian Trilling and Susan Vermeer.
You will find more information about this research project on the website of Lowlands (in Dutch).