Sunday, 5 June 2011

There's this rather long but interesting article on why web personalisation may be damaging our world view.

Basically, this guy wrote this book saying that because of the Internet, we are not as connected or informed as experts have said we are.

It's approaching! 

We like to be surrounded by the familiar, and by information that confirms what we already believe. It drives up pageviews and gets visitors coming back. But it’s a problem because it means you’re less likely than ever to be confronted with information that challenges your views, or gets you out of your comfort zone. Your own point of view follows you wherever you go.

Clay Shirky points out that while most newspaper readers read the internal sections (Sports, Home and Garden, whatever), at least they had to flip by the front page which let them know if something important was going on that they should know about. Now it’s possible to live in a bubble where that stuff doesn’t ever show up — you’d never know it’s happening.

Yes, we should all seek out diverse information flows. But great media makes that easy, even fun — combining information vegetables and information dessert and making sure you get enough of both. A lot of the personalization that exists today just serves up information junk food. It may be delicious, but it doesn’t feed the soul.

It's one of the things we learn in media studies- is the online audience so fragmented that we only seek out information and interests that align with our personality, that we remain very ignorant about the other issues around the world?


It's a rather uncomfortable thought for most scholars, because it is almost unimaginable that someone may know all about the Iraq War but nothing about the lack of drinking water in Africa. Or perhaps someone who derives a false sense of confidence and self assurance by seeking out an opinion on an issue that suits your own. I believe even right now, you can think of instances where you did this. I certainly have.

It's something worth thinking about- perhaps next time, when you find yourself doing that, you can also remind yourself to look at the other point of view as well, to get a clearer understanding of the opposition.

Right about now, I think I'm writing this post as if I'm writing an essay. Must be all the essay writing I've been doing, it's been ingrained in my writing style now!

So I shall move on to other things. I was very surprised to find that two local bookstore chains are closing down after their parent company went bankrupt. I thought that the Aussies read a lot, but either they don't or they simply get their books from other sources (I'm thinking ebooks are more popular here- I hope, anyway).

It's really sad, because there is a bookstore just behind my apartment, and the way they work here is that there will be a coffee shop within the store, so you can grab anything from the store, buy a coffee and sit down the whole day reading. It's really a leisurely thing to do, and now I've lost a pasttime (not that I've done it many times).

Bookstores are my sanctuary. I enjoy browsing through titles, reading summaries of the plot, skimming through magazines, and paying absolutely zero attention to my surroundings. I definitely stand out in a bookstore- I'm normally the only minority (read: Asian) but having been to bookstores all the time back home, it doesn't feel any different; and when I'm tuned out I don't really see how people look at me.

It's one of those things you do where you become totally absorbed that you really do not know what is happening around you.

Anyway, I've run out of things to write, so here are 3 trailers to end this post with:

1. Anonymous

2. Crazy Stupid Love

3. Super 8

Have a good week ahead!
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