Reflection on Keyword: Filter Bubbles

This paper was a real rollercoaster for me, not only because of the many different voices in the discourse surrounding the keyword, but also because of how – or rather – where – I wrote it. I wrote this paper during a family trip; during the day I would explore around with my family, but at night I would sit down at the hotel and work on this paper. Sometimes I wrote this paper on a train, on a plane, at a random café… just anywhere, really. However, oftentimes I would research for and write this paper while my two lovely sisters talk to me (or at me) about anything from creepy stories to the state of Overwatch. Then I would give in and we would simply go on YouTube and reply to sappy comments on sad Original Philippine Music videos. This paper was a quite an adventure.

My process began when I started a general search on Google Scholar and the University of Toronto Library (UTL) website on filter bubbles. From my search, I realized how broad this keyword was, so I decided to focus on what I found to be the most interesting: the discourse surrounding filter bubbles, as well as what they are, their causes, and their applications in real life. I then sent my professor my annotated bibliography that consisted of five scholarly sources I was considering for my final paper.

I decided to focus on what I found to be the most interesting: the discourse surrounding filter bubbles, as well as what they are, their causes, and their applications in real life.

Then, my wonderful professor replied with other sources that she felt were worth exploring. One of them was Axel Bruns’ critique on filter bubbles called “It’s Not the Technology, Stupid: How the ‘Echo Chamber’ and ‘Filter Bubble’ Metaphors Have Failed Us.” Upon reading this article, I was so intrigued by it and decided to skim through the sources Bruns used. From there, I stumbled upon another source I found interesting and useful for my final paper: Sebastian Meineck’s “Deshalb ist ‘Filterblase’ die blödeste Metapher des Internets“ [roughly translated: “That’s Why the Filter Bubble is the Dumbest Metaphor on the Internet”]. This “source hopping” actually happened quite a lot during my time researching for this paper, wherein one good source led to another good source and I constantly ended up in this spiral of scholarly articles.

However, at one point I decided to stop source hopping as my notes were getting too long and it has already taken quite a lot of my time. I then proceeded to form connections between the different research papers by using different highlighter tools and re-organizing points based on common themes and categories found. This procedure also helped me put scholarly debates into conversation about the filter bubble.

Afterwards, I outlined my draft and thesis statement, and started my actual writing process. When I write, I usually start with the body paragraphs and leave the introduction and conclusion toward the end. I find the introduction and conclusion to be the most difficult part of the process!

After finishing the paper, I waited for a few days before editing and proofreading my paper. I like to call this phase the “fermentation phase.” I do this so that I could have a set of fresh eyes, which makes it easier for me to find loose ends, weak arguments, and awkward sentences in my work.

I then sent my paper to a friend so that she could help me proofread it, and after that, off this paper went to my professor!