Excerpts:

  • “Teens of different races may converse politely in the classroom, but that doesn’t mean they are friends on social media. Although many teens connect to everyone they know on sites like Facebook, this doesn’t mean that they cross unspoken cultural boundaries” (Boyd 155).
  • “In fact, their construction typically reinforces existing social divisions. This sometimes occurs when designers intentionally build tools in prejudicial ways. More often it happens inadvertently when creators fail to realize how their biases inform their design decisions or when the broader structural ecosystem in which a designer innovates has restrictions that produce bias as a byproduct” (Boyd 156).
  • “In other technologies, biases may emerge as a byproduct of the testing process. Apple’s voice recognition software, Siri, has difficulty with some accents, including Scottish, Southern US, and Indian.6 Siri was designed to recognize language iteratively. Because the creators tested the system primarily in-house, the system was better at recognizing those American English accents most commonly represented at Apple” (Boyd 158).

Notes:

  • The Internet was supposed to help equalize individuals, but technology like Siri does not necessarily do this because it recognizes American/English accents more easily
  • Divisions, such as prejudice and racism still exist throughout social media
  • During the Black Entertainment Television Awards, people put racist comments on Twitter
  • On social media, people tend to interact more with people of their own races (homophily)
  • Some people think that Myspace is more for African Americans than Facebook

Thoughts: The idea that the Siri recognizes American/English accents more easily than other accents does not surprise me, but it is an idea that I had never thought about before. I have taken instances like this for granted even though social divisions are still prevalent in social media.

Questions to Consider:

  • What are other instances of how social media has allowed social divisions to continue?
  • Are there examples in which social media has lessened or prevented social divisions and racism?

Citations:

Boyd, Danah. It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens. N.p.: Yale UP, 2014. Print.

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