|Title||Facebook Idio-Culture: How Personalisation Puts the Me in Social Media|
The aim of this study is to examine the extent to which cultural preferences in music in the UK have changed as a result of personalised social media. It is an exploration of the extent to which the boundaries of musical subcultures, and other such cultural groupings have been smudged by a customised Internet, and by the quotidian routine of using social media sites led by influential algorithms, designed to offer us an experience tailored to our own tastes. It also investigates the ways in which a person’s need to use their taste as an outward display of identity or subcultural capital (Thornton 2006) has altered, now that every aspect of life can be advertised on Facebook, Twitter and other such websites.
With the rise of technologies such as ‘online recommenders’ this research evaluates whether the new technology, rather than helping, has hindered our ability to predict the tastes of an individual, and instead, whether it shepherds us through the abundance of data now readily available to us at the touch of a button. It examines, also how the filtering of accessible information, deemed relevant for us by such technologies affects our tastes and behaviour. In terms of primary research, an Investigation is conducted, focussing on a target group of individuals linked by a Facebook fan Page, following a mixed methods approach, consisting of an in-depth, self-completion questionnaire designed to collate quantitative data on the demographic, an observation by means of analytical tracking software, written specifically for this thesis examining the online behaviour of the participants as they create and recommend a musical playlist, and also a series of more open, qualitative interviews. The thesis concludes by acknowledging that musical taste is affected both implicitly by our habitus (Bourdieu 1984) and explicitly by means of algorithmic personalisation in a pincer movement, narrowing our tastes and channelling our musical choices.