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Technology and society

Magda Skrzypek
Media development worker

Prague-based media development worker from Poland with a journalistic background. Previously worked on digital issues in Brussels. Piqs about digital issues, digital rights, data protection, new trends in journalism and anything else that grabs my attention.

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piqer: Magda Skrzypek
Wednesday, 08 August 2018

Podcast: Dissecting Social Media: Why Online Politics Gets So Extreme So Fast

Back in March, I wrote a piq “YouTube And Its Radicalizing Algorithm” that summarized a sharp New York Times op-ed written by Zeynep Tufekci, a techno-sociologist and a professor at the University of North Carolina. Describing her as "one of the clearest thinkers around on how digital platforms work, how their algorithms understand and shape our preferences, and what the consequences are for society," Vox’s Ezra Klein Show invited Tufekci last week to discuss radicalization on YouTube and beyond.

The conversation between Tufekci and Klein resulted in a wonderfully informative and thought -provoking podcast focused on social media platforms. During one hour of the show, the founder of Vox Media and his guest distil some very complex ideas, like how social media networks are rewiring our brains to seek constant attention and how they make us more partisan and more extreme. As they go, they tap into various issues, from Kardashians and Donald Trump to censorship and algorithms. They also seek solutions, debating on how to design our system so that it helps us be our better selves. As Tufekci says, "we can, as a society, decide, that this isn't what we want" and, in fact, "we need to have this taught political discussion on what are the rules and what are the structures under which we can have a healthier society."

Still, what stands out the most in this podcast, and in fact, in all of Klein’s shows, is the amount of truly insightful questions. Klein is a brilliant interviewer, who creates dialogue that goes way beyond the clichéd Q&A interview format. His follow-up questions always give depth to every topic he picks, whether it's radicalization on social media or other critical problems in current politics and media.

Podcast: Dissecting Social Media: Why Online Politics Gets So Extreme So Fast
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Comments 1
  1. christoph weigel
    christoph weigel · 3 months ago

    thanks for piqing! sounds much like true enlightenment, highly welcome.