cloudalps (hidden peaks)

High Tech Economics – implications from a global perspective.

“Digital Lifestyle”: cause OR solution for “the filter bubble”?

With the advent of online media as a significant source of information for modern citizens, questions about perspective, unbiased perception and propagandism from consuming internet sources begin to surface. Are our Google search results – personalized intransparently based on our past search behavior, location and other factors – giving us what is actually relevant or just the segment of an information universe we tend to look at ? Are the newsfeeds on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora etc. just a narrow selection based on a set of criteria that puts us in an audience category which can be addressed by the advertisers that fund all these “free” platforms ?

The Economist reviews Eli Pariser’s book “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding From You” and doubts some of his recommendations that include human curation of information, ombudsmen for social networks and others; however, the need for reflection on information creation and consumption online is reconfirmed.

Taking a step back from online media, it is worthwhile to think about how information was produced, distributed and consumed in the last 50 years of color TV. The gravitation from newspapers to TV originally started in the US where TV’s dominance in opinion making reaches back to about 1968; today it is ubiquitious around the globe. In sync with TV broadcast’s reach, the largest audience that advertisers could address were formed. With the modal shift of media to the internet, smaller but more homogenous audiences focused on specific interests and opinions were created.

Specialization typically enables innovation – in the more narrowly defined area – but the reduced generalized perspective comes at the cost of specialists missing certain insights outside their field of focus. Ultimately, nothing has really changed: a balanced and holistic perspective required TV spectators to watch different channels plus read some newspaper. The same goes for today’s adopters of a Digital Lifestyle: aside from using the most well known social networks and search engines, they have to read and digest other sources of information. Blogs, newspaper (online or even in print), news databases and hopefully some face-to-face conversations with trusted friends.

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Filed under: Online & Digital Lifestyle

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