CSI hosted dr. Bianca C. Reisdorf from the Michigan State University

From 21-23 May 2018 the University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Social Sciences, Centre for Social Informatics (CSI) hosted dr. Bianca C. Reisdorf from Department of Media and Information and Quello Center, Michigan State University. Dr. Reisdorf is one of the most promising young researchers in the field of new technologies and society, focusing primarily on research into digital inequalities. Her articles have been published in leading scientific journals such as New Media & Society and Information, Communication & Society.

The main purpose of the visit was a working meeting between Dr. Reisdorf and researchers involved in the New technologies, new inequalities? Theoretical and empirical investigation of the role of mobile Internet access in differential engagement with online services and Smart ICT Solutions for Active and Healthy Ageing: Integrating Informal e-Care Services in Slovenia projects. The participants discussed possibilities for further research cooperation and research designs in studying (non-)use as well as proxy use of the Internet employing survey research methodology.

During her visit, Dr. Reisdorf also gave a guest lecture as part of the Internet in Everyday Life course focusing on the social implications of search engines for political opinion formation. Dr. Reisdorf discussed how search engines (eg Google) work, in particular the PageRank system, which determines the composition of results in web search, and related social implications. Dr. Reisdorf talked about the phenomenon of "filter bubbles", which refers to algorithmic filtering of personalized content and "echo chambers", which describes a situation where only specific ideas, information and beliefs are shared. In particular, she discussed the implications of these phenomena for political opinion formation. During the lecture she also presented the empirical insights of the The Quello Search Project, where she and colleagues investigated the role of search engines in democratic processes. An online survey was conducted in six European countries and in the United States, covering 14,000 Internet users.