The Filter Bubble: Why Your Internet Reality May Be Different From Mine

I have often argued that one of the reasons that Americans have become increasingly partisan over the past several decades has a lot to do with the end of military conscription. No longer are Americans from different backgrounds, races, geographic areas, and religions compelled to spend long periods together in tough, stressful conditions, and overcoming obstacles by forming cohesive teams.

Now, Eli Pariser, a liberal of MoveOn.org fame, has offered another compelling reason why Americans are slowly drifting into separate camps. He discusses it in his TED Talk above as well as in his new book, The Filter Bubble.

As social media like Facebook and search engines like Google increasingly customize users’ experiences so that companies can better market to them, they are creating reality bubbles. The more I click on right-leaning articles on my Facebook wall, the fewer left-leaning articles appear.

Without knowing it, my reality slowly becomes warped.

Pariser is definitely on to something and I look forward to reading his book.

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About Sean Patrick Hazlett

Conservative clean energy crusader, national security hawk, financial analyst, engineer, and former military officer.
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6 Responses to The Filter Bubble: Why Your Internet Reality May Be Different From Mine

  1. Scott Erb says:

    I’ve not been reading blogs while in Italy because of time, but I’m glad I decided to check yours quickly. That is really fascinating and discouraging — we should interact and listen to those we disagree with, not just those we agree with. I look forward to reading more too — but now it’s off to the Duomo (we just got to Florence).

    • pino says:

      That is really fascinating and discouraging — we should interact and listen to those we disagree with, not just those we agree with.

      During one of Sean’s posts regarding “Driving Traffic”, I mentioned that I typically go to blogs that I disagree with. While there, I am forced to defend my positions and so I end up studying. So, while I get my news from more conservative outlets, I interact with more liberal commentators.

    • Yeah. Eli’s thesis really peaked my interest because it is a classic case of unintended consequences. My belief is that Facebook and Google are not intentionally trying to divide people, they are simply trying to segment them for advertisers. The unintended consequence is that they also distort the windows on people’s worlds.

      A very insightful and fascinating thesis indeed.

      • dedc79 says:

        yeah, we have separate newspapers (politics websites), separate radio stations, often live in separate states/cities, and the internet is widening the gulf in many ways instead of closing it.

        As for military conscription, I couldn’t agree more. I recently listened to a podcast from The Moth where this scientist talked about growing up in a military family where he got used to being in desegregated schools as a kid because the military was ahead of the curve, only to wind up later in schools where he was the only african american.

  2. Pingback: War Experiments | Reflections of a Rational Republican

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