Some-any: approximating personalization in contemporary ensembles

Adrian Mackenzie*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    1 Citation (Scopus)

    Abstract

    The paper situates personalization by comparing widely used numbering practices on social media and other digital platforms. It draws on A.N. Whitehead's analysis of approximation to identify how probabilities and hashes, two key approximating practices, combine to configure platforms and individual users. It shows how personalization in a typical social media setting, the Instagram Explore Page, both distributes individual differences in a statistical manifold and indexes a state of affairs of persons, things, transactions, times and places in numbers such as hashes. Approaching personalization as a practice of entangled approximations, I suggest, shows how relational mappings developed by social media platform overflow the cultural-economic logic of targetted advertising. I argue that the combination of probabilities and hashes, or statistical manifolds and distributed coordination practices, articulate new versions of the some-any relationships embedded in many facets of social life. As approximations, these numberings point to the possibility of new critical framings of technical ensembles and their capacity to condition the formation of groups.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)241-253
    Number of pages13
    JournalDistinktion
    Volume24
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2023

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