Eli Pariser’s book The Filter Bubble has a pretty dramatic tagline: “What the Internet is Hiding from You.” What do you mean, hiding? Doesn’t the internet offer more information than ever?
Not exactly. Pariser’s thesis boils down to one idea–that personalization is bad for our society. Most of us are pretty familiar with at least the gist of the concept, aware that Facebook and other social media sites filter ads, posts, and all sorts of content based on what they think you’ll like. Sounds great, yeah?
Again…not exactly. Pariser argues that this creates something called echo chamber. Basically, the more the internet is personalized for our liking, the less we’ll hear opposing views. Meaning we’re less likely to find common ground with other ways of thinking, understand where opinions are coming from, or consider changing our minds.
I didn’t agree with 100% of this book, but it’s a great conversation starter, and it makes a great case for getting beyond what we’re comfortable with. Don’t think you’ll agree with that book? Read it anyways. Don’t understand that person’s viewpoint? Find out why.
And, if anyone asks why libraries and hard research are necessary when they could “just google it,” this book offers a great answer.
Thanks for reading!