Dreaming in Filter Bubbles


Do you think you can find  information about almost anything on the Internet?

Think again, because the data you find has been tailored for you. It is a selected truth, part of your personal digital ecosystem. A blow back, you might say, of your digital exhaust.

And this is all because of “filter bubbles.” What are they?

“A filter bubble is a result state in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behaviour and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. Prime examples are Google‘s personalised search results and Facebook‘s personalised news stream. The term was coined by internet activist Eli Pariser in his book by the same name; according to Pariser, users get less exposure to conflicting viewpoints and are isolated intellectually in their own informational bubble.Wikipedia

I think we’ve always been limited in our thinking by the cultural ideas that surround us, but it worries me that we are now limited even more by our paths through the digital landscape. It’s a narrowing experience, a dumbing down of our potential. And if we can’t think large…we can’t dream large. We can only dream with things that float through our filter bubbles. Scary.

Here’s a great Ted talk by Eli Pariser:

Do filter bubbles worry you?

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

7 thoughts on “Dreaming in Filter Bubbles”

  1. I hadn’t heard of Filter bubbles. It is worrying and a big problem. I hate the idea of Google showing me what they think I should or want to see instead of giving back all results.


    1. Hi Emma
      It’s creepy, isn’t it. Like being part of a sci-fi, only it’s real. ugh.
      Thanks for stopping by and commenting.


  2. Wow, Jo-Ann, thanks for sharing this. I watched the whole thing. Scary for sure. I’ll be sharing with others. On the less serious side, I didn’t realize I’d stop receiving some posts from a few cousins if I didn’t click on them. I almost defriended them during one of the recent elections, but they were cousins and I love them. 🙂 Guess next time I just won’t open them if they look political and leave it to FB to wash them out. LOL But that really should be my decision and not FB’s.
    Ted Talks really are fascinating. 🙂


  3. Thanks Jo-Ann, what an eye opener! When I was doing research in the library, before I retired, we had to list our sources. If the only source was the web, it had to be listed as ‘not verifiable’. Now there is another reason to distrust the web. It’s only partially true. It’s like a new version of ‘Big Brother’. Shudder. ‘Ted Talks’ is great but I wish that his voice matched his lip movements. It gives the impression that his voice is was dubbed.


    1. Hi Helena
      Interesting. The Internet certainly is changing our concept of information and truth. Makes me wonder what the world will be like for our great-grandchildren.
      Thanks for stopping by and adding a librarian’s perspective.


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