You might not have heard the term "filter bubble" before (I hadn't), but you know how it works.
Basically, the concept is that each of us gets the same Internet information over and over based on the increasing trend of online companies to tailor services, including news and search results, to our personal tastes.
This leads to what TED speaker Eli Pariser calls a dangerous unintended consequence: We get trapped in a filter bubble that keeps us from being exposed to information that could challenge or broaden our worldview.
More information outlets, same results: It doesn't just happen online. The television bubble filter equivalent is viewer dedication based on personal political bias to either Fox News or MSNBC.
But we do tend to blow up our protective bubbles even more on social media sites, friending or following individuals who share our interests, backgrounds, political views.
And we share the same "I knew it!" pieces of informantion back and forth with the same supportive groups.
Essentially, personalized content might be is narrowing our perspectives.
When we predominately see and hear what we want to see and hear, Pariser says that the resulting filter bubble will ultimately prove to be bad for us and bad for democracy.
Dominic Basulto, writing for the Washington Post's Ideas@Innovations blog, says:
By opting for the lowest common denominator — a "supercommittee" split down the middle by party and ideology and encouraged to split the difference — Congress is close to missing an opportunity to craft an innovative solution to our nation's fiscal problems. Lawmakers should realize that the key to crafting an innovative political solution is all about accessing the information and data at the edges of their networks, not in shrinking the number of possible solutions to the deficit reduction problem.
Basulto urges the members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to break out of their individual and the overall Congressional filter bubbles, noting that what's relevant is not always what we think is relevant.
As the countdown toward the Nov. 23 deadline for the 12-member bipartisan committee to come up with a Congressionally acceptable deficit reduction plan, here's hoping the Senators and Representatives do pop their filter bubbles and not our deficit cutting hopes.
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