Monday, April 18, 2011

Echo Chamber

There was an article in Wired this month about this thing called the "echo chamber" effect. Naturally, as everything else, it got me thinking.

So the "echo chamber" effect is one of the many dangers of the internet age. It's the worry that people too commonly seek out like-minded peers to gather their daily dose of opinion and information. In doing so, they shut off new branches of thought and really just reinforce their own beliefs.

I am totally guilty of this.

If it's not alternative, progressive, or liberal in nature, I have not been hearing about it. I blame databasing and web personalization. You know, the whole, "if you liked ABC, you'll love XYZ". How does the internet know that I won't love PQRS if it never asked me about JKLM? Even Netflix tailors my movie selections based on my pre-programmed tastes. Not that I don't adore crime thrillers based on books, action/adventures starring Paul Newman, feel good romantic comedies, and witty independent dramas, but who does Netflix think it is for boxing me in? (I took those right off my Netflix home page, what happened to comedy and action as labels?) Sheesh, I need to widen my filters a bit.

If I had any spare time at all I would recode the algorithms of the internet to include, "you may like this if you gave it a try" types of suggestions. But I'm busy this week.

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