“It’s Like Learning a Whole Other Language:” The Role of Algorithmic Skills in the Curation of Creative Goods

Erin Klawitter, Eszter Hargittai

Abstract


There is increasing concern and scholarship about how algorithms influence users’ online experiences. Yet, little of the work is empirical in nature, leaving many questions about whether users recognize how algorithms affect their online actions and whether they can address the influence of algorithms skillfully. To address this gap, we draw on interviews with creative entrepreneurs from across the United States to examine the extent to which they understand how algorithms may impact their sales success. Participants reveal varying levels of algorithmic skills, or know-how, when it comes to understanding how algorithms influence their content’s visibility. Although many recognize that algorithms affect who sees their wares online, only some know how to set things up so as to improve their chances of reaching potential customers.


Keywords


algorithms, audiences, algorithmic literacy, algorithmic skills, social media, online participation, creative entrepreneurs, Internet skills

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