Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Are You Trapped in Your Bubble?


Courtesy of UnnySankar

Beware of the filter bubble. It can narrow your world view, limit your exposure to new and innovative ideas, and foster negativity.

What is a filter bubble?

Well, according to Wikipedia...

A filter bubble is a result state in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles.

What this means is that the more you consume and engage with certain types of content, the more such stuff is going to pop up on your screens or appear in your feeds.

Governed by algorithms like Facebook's EdgeRank, Google's Hummingbird and the cookie crumbs we leave behind, our online actions will result in us seeing more of the same kind of posts from the same kind of friends or organisations whom we've interacted with.

Thus, the reason why we're receiving and seeing all that nasty bad news or gossipy sensational stuff ad nauseum is because we have searched for, liked, commented or shared stuff like that. Such behaviors become a self perpetuating, ever constricting cycle.

In other words, "likes" attract like.

The more we consume, comment on, and share an "OMG, this is truly bad crap" kind of post, the more our news-feeds and searches will be populated by such content.

To escape from this constricting torrent of "same old same old" content, take a break from your devices. Go on a digital detox for a day. Read a book that is of a different subject matter altogether. Meditate. Walk in the park. Call a friend or speak to a stranger on the train.

If you do need to peer at your phone, choose to consume mind enriching stuff. Pull yourself away from endlessly snacking on the empty calories of celebrity gossips, political missteps, or global-calamities-that-you-can't-do-anything-beyond-bitching-about-them.

Should you interact with others on social networks, try to find folks whom you don't normally associate with. Like that eskimo from Alaska, deep sea diver from India, or philosophy professor from Helsinki. Or a long lost secondary or primary school friend.

Every now and then, remember to clear your cache and cookies. Flush out the familiar so that you can venture into the unknown.

Seek, search and consume what's  insightful, what's inspiring, and what's illuminating.

By doing so, you'll be able to break free from your narrow world of worthless gossips, bad news and scandalous happenings. You will expand your vistas, broaden your horizons, and drink more richly from the wellsprings of wisdom from the world.

Go ahead and do it today. Escape from the tyranny of digging ever deeper into the same old digital debris. Break free from your algorithm and burst that filter bubble!
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