Richard Rogers, Information Politics on the Web

Richard Rogers

book – The MIT Press – ISBN 0262182424
The meanings that emerge from hypertextual links are one of the real languages of the Web, where links and their density, as sublimated by Google’s ranking policies, become the fundamental quantitative and strategical piece for building intelligible meanings on the Net. The peculiar communication techniques of the Web and the huge possibilities for it to be used as a political tool are to be found in its structure, which is different, sometimes completely, from that of the traditional means of communication. This text accurately analyzes the ‘link policies’ and can be seen as the first draft of a real epistemology of the Web, founded on the computer programs for analysis and visualization made by the author. Analyzing the links means not only trying to understand the reasons behind the popularity of certain terms, but also outlining the meaning of the choices behind those links. The outline sketched by this kind of analysis permits to tear apart the opaque veil of online marketing, which is mostly self-referential and pretentious, outlining the peculiar internal mechanisms of the evolution of the endless web of links. This analysis quantifies not only the debates and arguments, but also examines techniques such as ‘collaborative filtering’, that is, the prediction of the user’s preferences based on the preferences of other users with similar tastes, or the aforementioned specific programs which can pinpoint, for example, new subjects of debates on the Net by sensing particular concentrations of links, or subjects of relevant social pressure by analyzing those most frequently cited by the great newspapers of a country in the period before the elections. Recognizing the dynamics and consequences of these epistemologic theories is one of the biggest hopes to understand the hyperfast mechanisms of the Web, which are still mostly unknown in their true social and linguistic dynamics.