1st Edition

Digital Intermediation Unseen Infrastructure for Cultural Production

By Jonathon Hutchinson Copyright 2023
    222 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    222 Pages 20 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Digital Intermediation offers a new framework for understanding content creation and distribution across automated media platforms – a new mediatisation process.

    This book draws on empirical and theoretical research to carefully identify and describe a number of unseen digital infrastructures that contribute to a predictive media production process through technologies, institutions and automation. Field data is drawn from several international sites, including Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, London, Amsterdam, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Sydney and Cartagena. By highlighting an increasingly automated content production and distribution process, this book responds to a number of regulatory debates on the societal impact of social media platforms. It highlights emerging areas of key importance that shape the production and distribution of social media content, including micro-platformisation and digital first personalities. This book explains how technologies, institutions and automation are used within agencies to increase exposure for the talent they manage while providing inside access to the processes and requirements of producers who create content for platform algorithms. Finally, it outlines user agency as a strategy for those who seek diversity in the information they access on automated social media content distribution platforms.

    The findings in this book provide key recommendations for policymakers working within digital media platforms and will be invaluable reading for students and academics interested in automated media environments.

    1. Introduction 2. Digital Intermediation: A theoretical framework 3. Digital Intermediation: Opportunities and Challenges 4. Digital first personalities 5. Micro-platformisation 6. Automated media 7. Transparent infrastructures 8. The role of public institutions for digital intermediation 9. Conclusion


    Jonathon Hutchinson is the Chair of the Discipline of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney. He is a Chief Investigator on the Australian Research Council Discovery Project, Online News and Media Pluralism, and is also a Chief Investigator on the eSafety Commission Research project, Emerging online safety issues: co-creating social media education with young people.

    Digital Intermediation is insightful, demonstrates incredible command of the literature in complementary fields combined with deep understanding through personal experience and ethnographic research, brought in a very accessible fashion, making the book suitable for academics from a range of disciplines as well as for interested audiences beyond academia. With references to Australia and the EU and a case study of Vietnam, the book goes beyond the typical references to the US, helping to evaluate the global impact while paying attention to regional and national specifics of the phenomenon of digital intermediaries and its many aspects.’

    Hilde Van den Bulck, Professor and Head of Department of Communication, Drexel University, USA.

    'Do you know what these are? A digital first personality? Micro-platformisation? A digital intermediary? An automated recommender system? Digital experience design? A predictive media environment? Algorithmic media? In this unique and timely book, Jonathon Hutchinson guides us through these unseen components of digital content production, to map the hidden infrastructure of digital intermediation. Now that everyone is a cultural producer, it’s no good complaining: what you do trains the system, even as the system trains you. The best way to achieve transparency is to understand how it works, whether you’re a user, student, creative, or public policymaker.'

    John Hartley, Professor in Digital Media and Culture, University of Sydney, Australia.