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We are not in control (?)

~ News, Narrative, and Design final project




Fall 2020

The elements

For my final project in my News, Narrative, and Design class, I collaborated with 2 other people to come up with a story and tell it in a unique way. We used different elements - such as sound, videography, as well as written - and presented them on a Tumblr website. 
https://slug-algorithms.tumblr.com/



To make our story more visually aesthetic and interactive, we chose a template that had a desktop interface and features, such as draggable “windows” and icons that can be closed and opened, to give a more realistic computer-like user experience. 
    With my basic knowledge in HTML, I also added more features that further develops the concept of algorithms - more specifically, the feeling of being monitored - by added a scripted code that shows in real-time how many people are viewing the webpage. 



The research

Other than searching for published articles and webpages through NY library databases, we also interviewed a wide range of people, including an influencer, a Senior Product Designer, and a regular college student who uses social media.
Each were interviewed about their relationship with algorithms, whether it’s through their work or their recreational uses, and used this as one of our sources to highlight how algorithms are almost an essential part of our lives. 
   

    Another method of reporting we used to garner more sources is by doing a vox pop through social media. Using the software, Mojo, I created an Instagram story video with a questionnaire feature (”on a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you feel like you’re being watched or monitored?”) and a call-to-action (the arrow) to encourage my followers to respond. 


These were the results. Using the formulas on Google sheets, we narrowed down the results to a statistic: from the data we collected on the vox pop, our result was that around 17.6% of people are concerned for their data and cyber security. 

Personal critique


After 5 drafts, we perfected an article that captured our main story - that we are being watched and the accessibility to our data makes us vulnerable: 

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jGFxlDV_9SSBmKPJq087y3OsS3LvOM-tB5u3mbzEVzE/edit?usp=sharing

Despite polishing the draft, there were several things that we felt we could’ve done better: adding more action, concrete details like mannerism of interviewees, and creating a scenery to make it more humanized, rather than an academic essay as we were told it felt like. 
If I were to do it again with the money and resources, my team and I would set out to personally interview experts working currently in the field, including Google or Facebook employees, and investigate the inner workings. We also would’ve done a bigger survey and included more people, create a thoughtful questionnaire, or we could’ve done a social experiement. 

Links to iterations of our written and visual elements, as well as fails of design and video elements:
https://slug-algorithms.tumblr.com/iterations
https://slug-algorithms.tumblr.com/fails

© Nicole Abriam 2020