It is time to assess your cyber location. There is a Ted video about “filter bubbles” on the Internet. When you watch this you will see that we can be isolated without our realization. Just like the goldfish purchased from the pet store as he later finds himself alone in a bowl. The video describes how the personalization of advertising on social media happens through likes, friends, and personal settings. This information allows limited information to access your news feed, including friend comments, news, and ads. He also discusses the personalization of search engines on the Internet. The searches are not general searches as they once were but are specific to your past search history, cookies, and interests from your own computer! (Hello, big brother) The discussion recognizes the importance of personal choice, not choice by proxy. If we are only allowed to see what someone else thinks we would like to see, then we are missing an entire world that is outside of our fishbowl.
There is an article, The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser, that relays 10 things you can do to be able to have a more natural, un-filtered experience on the Internet.
Douglas Rushkoff, author of Life Inc. and Program or Be Programmed acknowledges “The Filter Bubble reveals how the world we encounter is shaped by programs whose very purpose is to narrow what we see and increase the predictability of our responses.”
I believe the original intent of a “filter bubble” was to give people a more personalized experience while searching or shopping on the Internet and I guess this could have been considered a “good” thing, but I also believe that it has gone too far and is controlling to the point of censoring.
I have already discovered issues with the “filter bubble” while researching several things, whether personal or academically. The Filter Bubble article explains that information can be limited on ALL computers you use by recognizing the configurations based on downloaded web pages. For example, I have used Firefox in the Library to research a topic and wrote down a few headlines to review when I got home. At that time, when I used ANY search engine from my laptop, NONE of the headlines were available. Some of them could not even be found by entering the headline itself into the search box. This, to me, is very disturbing as IT “filters” what IT thinks I need without giving me the opportunity to decide for myself. Fortunately, this cannot happen in the library!
I routinely maintenance privacy on my computer as well as my Facebook account. There are, however, some very good suggestions in the article on “How to Pop Your Filter Bubble” and I highly recommend checking them out.
The world is a much better place in the company of others, even if we happen to disagree or like different things. It is better than swimming alone, around and around in circles.