Thursday, September 1, 2011

Filter bubbles et al

So we learned recently that the newest threat to our freedom and liberty is internet filter bubbles. Eli Pariser is pushing this idea (and his book "The Filter Bubble: what the internet may is hiding from you") and you can see his engaging talk on TED.

Now, of course, since his TED talk, there's a whole cottage industry around filter bubbles. Just do a web search on the filter bubble, and a somewhat unfiltered response is returned. A certain irony, there, to be sure.

And there's a counterpoint from academic Paul Resnick who argues that it's not that there is filtering on web searches, including social sites like Facebook--indeed, there is, and has been for a long time--but that the filtering is often done clumsily and ineffectively.

As a project manager, author, blogger, and instructor, I use the web a lot for search.  I use multiple engines to include google, bing, and blekko; and all of these return different stuff.  I also search google scholar, and the archives of many different sites, like,, Harvard Business Review, and my local university library online.  So, I may be in a bubble, but I don't see a conspiracy here.

On the other hand, I'm sure there's something to Pariser's theme, more so than book sales.  So, to anyone who relies on just one search engine: you are in a bubble!

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