The Data loop of media and audience
How audiences and media actors make datafication work
As our digital footprints are collected and analysed by the media and fed back at us as new experiences, providing more data to collect, data circulates in a loop from audiences to media and back. This data loop is for media studies an occasion to revisit the media–audience nexus in an age of datafication. We argue that an audience perspective is needed in order to break with the structure–agency linearity in current understanding of datafication. In this article, we develop a model of the data loop that first presents the fundamentals of data circulation between social actors and digital interfaces, then the moments of agency between actors in a relation of mutual dependence. The article closes with a discussion of previous models within media and communication that have addressed similar ideas, such as audience feedback, mutuality and circularity.
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