During the year end I had time to review articles, blogs and source I am normally not checking, mostly only due to pure lack of time and made some interesting observations. Today we often hear the term “filter bubble”according to the definition Eli Pariser described as “users get less exposure to conflicting viewpoints and are isolated intellectually in their own informational bubble”. A similar statement done by Tim Berners-Lee about the “Hotel California” effect – remember Eagle’s lyrics: “We are programmed to receive. You can checkout any time you like, But you can never leave!” in 2010. This is often linked to discussion about the algorithms internet super servers as Google or facebook are using to present search results or place advertisements in the users stream and the implications for civic discourse this might have.
My observations were quite simple, yet in my daily life behaviors just got forgotten. What were these observations? Well, when being interested in a specific topic, mostly one a little bit more complicated that the weather forecast for tomorrow, I am trying to get information from different sources, e.g. different newspapers, (news)magazines, blogs, twitter handles, my own searches using more than one search engine, stuff broadcasted on TV channels or visiting other relevant web portals (as well to identify “fake news”). I learned to do so during my time at high school where teachers advised us when doing our home work on specific topics and gather information for that, not just grab the first available source of information – at that time mostly newspapers, magazines, radio, TV … so non digital stuff, but rather go and look for different sources and compare, search yourself for more, look behind, who is publishing what, how often is information around this kind of topic published at that source, talk to you physical and digital network and so on. And this behavior had become a bit faint. Call it lazyness because of all the assistance we get or just getting a bit blind, trusting too much the glittery world of mash-ups and bold headlines. So this season was a good reminder to myself to keep up what a good practice has been and even more is in these information flooded times.
Times have become more difficult now, with an overwhelming amount of information and less and less time to spend to dig our own path through it. So help by search algorithms or other ways of assisted thinking is appreciated. Yet even than we should not rely on a single source or two. Remember the “Wild Ducks” and the high valued ideas they can bring up? If an you doing a manual search or an algorithm looks for relevance and reliability, some wild duckish ideas or less often yet relevant aspects of a topic probably never will show up.
So keep you bubble big, expand it, make it diverse, don’t live in a box! Regardless what you are taking a deeper look into: business areas, technical trends, societal developments, news, … and it is amazing what all you can find out about a topic! Or as the founder of IBM put in it in just one word: Think!