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Geo-linguistic Realities and Imaginary Cosmopolitanism:

Repurposing filter bubble devices for new (cross-cultural) literacies

for Faculty of Education | HKU13 August 2013

Chair: Dr. Angel Lin

(currently a summer fellow
at the HIIG, Berlin)

Key terms

Purposes of information systems

Information filter bubbles

Imaginary cosmopolitanism

Digital methods

Repurpose of dominant online devices

Realities: Geo-linguisic realities of information systems

Filter bubbles?TED talk (Pariser, 2011)

The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You

My understandingWe get trapped in a "filter bubble" and don't get exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.

My assessment
No and Yes: not strong effects of personalization (Zittrain,2011)

Localization (L10n) effects substantial

So when I was growing up in a really rural area in Maine, the Internet meant something very different to me. It meant a connection to the world. It meant something that would connect us all together. And I was sure that it was going to be great for democracy and for our society. But there's this shift in how information is flowing online, and it's invisible. And if we don't pay attention to it, it could be a real problem.

TED talk (Pariser, 2011)

... with the demise of the universal search engine and the rise of local domain Googles and personalization that return sources (and ads) tailored at least to location and language, the relevant sources returned have changed.
DMI (Rogers, 2013)

Shifting from the universal to the local?

Grounding geographical and linguistic specificity

[T]he web is increasingly grounded with geographical and linguistic specificity by platform and space (Rogers, 2013, p. 58)

Findings of bubbles?
Visualized Chinese SERPs (2011 data)

Imaginary cosmopolitanism

Sources:TED talk (Zuckerman, 2010)

Rewire (Zuckerman, 2013)

My understanding:
Unconscious of the specificities of her/his own information environment and the lack of experience of others'

Consequences:Parochial worldviews

Divisive politics

Cross-cultural and/or cross-lingual misunderstandings

Chinese Bubbles and/or
Imaginary Chinese nationalism?

Chinese Information Sources and Order

Regional Variations:
Baidu_CN = Baidu

Regional Variations:
Google_CN = China Google

Regional Variations:
Google Hong Kong

Solutions: Towards
Digital Cross-cultural Literacies

To recognize the existence of information filter bubbles

To understand the underlying mechanism
(e.g. geo-linguistic parameters zh-HK ar-EG)

To experience of others' information envirnoment

To repurosing the sorting and summarizing devices (e.g. websites such as Google and Wikipedia)

Search as Research: DMI (Rogers, 2013)

here I discuss the tension between Google's local domain as organizing the national or the language webthe local is not about local sources, but about market reach into national search markets

Google may be considered a globalizing machine, and analyzed through such concepts as the postcolonial, the transnational and the glocal.

Detecting and Exposing Biases

The Lippmannian Device (Rogers, 2013) is meant to be an everyday piece of equipment for the analysis of issue spaces

a coarse means to detect bias, partisanship, or more general alignment

Rewire (Zuckerman, 2013)Digital Cosmopolitans in the Age of Connection

Google Borders (based on Autocomplete)


Language Spheres (Rogers, 2013)

DMI menstration project:
Menstruation across cultures online


Cross-cultrual learning

Are any colour meanings universal across cultures and continents?"


Cross-lingual Art Spaces on Wikipedia



Cluster: Iberian


What can be done and taguht?

Clean slate and fresh startClean research browsers

Non localized version (query design: e.g. ncr in Google)

Hide geographic and linguistic traces

Different starting pointsManipulation of geo-lang codes: locale switch, query desgin, etc.

Manipulation of geo-IP locations

Exercise of advanced qurey desgins for different filtering outcomesdigital literacy

digital literacy

Engaging cross-cultural differences

Mapping the Iranian Web

Mapping the Chinese Web:
geo-IP of SERPs

Mapping the Chinese Web: languages of the SERPs

Mapping the Chinese Web:
inter-language links in Wikipedia

Implications for New Literacies

Key SuggestionsReview national literacies and information systems

Import national Web Studies

Identify imaginary cosmopolitanism biases

Teach simple digital methods

Manipulate geo-linguistic variations of websites

Key termsPurposes of information systems

Information filter bubbles

Imaginary cosmopolitanism

Digital methods

Repurpose of dominant websites

13 August 2013

For Faculty of Education, HKU



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