Rozmanova ulica 12
1000 Ljubljana
Prostori: osmo/za

Bernhard Rieder (en)

Online lecture & a discussion with Robert Bobnič

DATE: Tuesday, 31 May 2022 | 17:00 CET
LOCATION: online stream

Bernhard Rieder: Studying a Platformed Media System

This talk starts from the idea that certain social media platforms have become large enough to host fully-fledged "media systems" within their technical, economic and legal governance structures. Terms like "creator economy" address this emerging and often very unequal situation. YouTube, for example, hosts channels that have built a successful business on top of the platform, while many others struggle to reach sustainable levels. Creators cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from make-up tutorials to political propaganda, and there are important differences between geographic and linguistic subgroups. The sheer mass of channels and videos makes it difficult to generate any kind of substantial overview. As social media platforms continue to expand their audience, it is crucial, however, that we are able to study how they function and what kind of content they make accessible to assess their increasingly central role in our societies.

The lecture will discuss how we can empirically investigate YouTube's platformed media system, looking both at how to map the landscape of channels and how to understand the algorithmic systems that play a central role in orienting viewers' attention. Using a variety of concepts, methods and tools, we are able to begin making sense of a large platform like YouTube, even if many blind spots and open questions remain. Building on a number of specific research projects, Rieder will discuss these possibilities and limitations in detail, arguing that researchers, journalists, activists and regulators need better access to create "counter powers" to the dominant platform companies.

The presentation will be followed by a discussion with Robert Bobnič.


Bernhard Rieder is associate professor of new media and digital culture at the University of Amsterdam and a collaborator with the Digital Methods Initiative. His research focuses on the history, theory and politics of software and, in particular, on the role algorithms play in the production of knowledge and culture. This work includes the development, application and analysis of computational research methods and the investigation of political and economic challenges posed by large online platforms. More

Photo:Andreia Barbosa

Robert Bobnič is a researcher at the Centre for Cultural and Religious Studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana, and a PhD student in media studies at the same faculty. His PhD dissertation focuses on the study of algorithms and automation in the field of cultural consumption. In the past, he has worked as an editor at V.B.Z. publishing house (2018–2020), editor of the cultural editorial office at Radio Študent (2013–2016), chief editor of Tribuna (2011–2012). He was also a member of the editorial board of ŠUM Journal for Contemporary Art Criticism and Theory (2018–2019), among others.

Cover image: Dorijan Šiško

Production: Ljudmila, Art and Science Laboratory. With support from the Municipality of Ljubljana – Department for Culture.

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