- Reading level: 18+ years
- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (24 April 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0143121235
- ISBN-13: 978-0143121237
- Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #5,74,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think Paperback – 24 Apr 2012
|Paperback, 24 Apr 2012||
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“Well-timed…a powerful indictment of the current system.” — THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
“Eli Pariser is no enemy of the Internet. The 30-year-old online organizer is the former executive director and now board president of the online liberal political group MoveOn.org. But while Pariser understands the influence of the Internet, he also knows the power of online search engines and social networks to control exactly how we get information—for good and for ill.” — TIME Magazine
“[An] important new inquiry into the dangers of excessive personalization… entertaining… provocative.” — THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
“Fascinating…a compelling deep-dive into the invisible algorithmic editing on the web, a world where we're being shown more of what algorithms think we want to see and less of what we should see.” — ATLANTIC.COM
“Pariser’s vision of the Internet’s near future is compelling.” — THE BOSTON GLOBE
— THE NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS
About the Author
Eli Pariser is the Board President, and former Executive Director, of the 5-million member organization MoveOn.org. A pioneer in online politics, Pariser is a Senior Fellow at the Roosevelt Institute and a co-founder of Avaaz.org, one of the world’s largest citizen organizations. His op-eds have appeared in The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal. He grew up in Lincolnville, Me.
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A lot of our clients are struggling with the speed of change. In social media, in marketing and in customer behavjour. They are also struggling with innovation .
A friend (thanks Alan Boyd) recommended "Filter Bubble". Boy(d) am I impressed. It is a book that covers the impact of the introduction of personalised search. My search results on "soccer" will be very different than yours (Ajax!). And that has all kinds of consequences.
Touches on privacy, data, innovation, culture, the role of news, democracy, marketing, selling, tracking, etc.
Reminds me of "From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg" and how the internet can be a source of good, but also a source of evil (like the invention of the book, that opened knowledge to the masses, but was then uses as a way to enforce dogmas though books such as the bible). Also reminds me of "Brandwashed", a nasty book about marketing.
If you had any doubts about the internet after reading "Future minds" and "The shallows", you be even more concerned. Big brother has arrived and is called Acxiom (billions of data profiles), Bluecavia (database of every computer, mobile device, piece of hardware), Google and Facebook.
Why is that important to business?
- Personalised search will make it more difficult to reach your target market.
- Personalised search will impact on your innovation capability.
- With the available data you can pinpoint clients to a very high degree.
- With the available data and technology you can influence buying behaviour in ways that you can't even imagine.
- Data is everything.
- You have to decide how ethical you want to be on data, tracking, influencing, branding and selling.
- Expect a backlash if you are not.
Learned lots of new words:
- Attention crash
- Click signals
- Naive realisme (we believe the world is as it appears to be)
- Confirmation bias
- Information obesity
Some interesting facts
Did you know that:
- The top 50 sites install 64 cookies each on your computer to track your behaviour
- 36% of Americans get their news through social media sites
- Yahoo uses the stream of search queries to make news
- 15% of Americans believed that Obama is Muslim.
- The percentage had doubled
- Targeted persuasion styles can increase effectiveness of marketing material by 30-40%
- The Netflix algorithm is better at making recommendations than you
- LinkedIn can forecast where you will be in 5 years time
- Personalisation will become the new marketing
- The next attractive man or woman who friends you on Facebook could turn out to be an advertisement for a bag of chips
- That in the future websites will morph to your personal preferences to increase your purchase intentions
We are dumbing down, hyper focus and bias displaces general knowledge, context, contrast, discovery, serendipity and ultimately innovation and creativity.
You literally become what you click. As with food, you are what information you consume (picture information obesity). With as the ultimate consequence an identity loop and the threat of monoculture (1984).
Through manipulation, curation, context and information flow you can be managed. Imagine a world where Google searches, Facebook likes, your e-mails, your documents (Google docs!), your DNA, your location data from your iPhone or Android, RFID on all the items you bought, the data from your cookies on your computer and more are all combined and are then used to:
The cloud is just a handful of companies. What would happen if Google would do evil and Facebook goes into politics (!!!).
A passionate plea
To end with the author;
As billions come online in India and Brazil and Africa, the Internet is transforming into a truly global place. Increasingly, it will be the place where we live our lives. But in the end, a small group of American companies may unilaterally dictate how billions of people work, play, communicate, and understand the world. Protecting the early vision of radical connectedness and user control should be an urgent priority for all of us.
The lessons for business; opportunity, threat, be aware, take a position
Just finished reading this for the second time. While some of the references are slightly dated (inevitable when writing about contemporary info culture) this tome points to an essential (and missing) aspect of media literacy. Teachers, grade school students, all, should be aware of the premises and insights within. Your data exhaust is one of your most valuable assets.
That danger is the risk that we will lose "serindipity," as our technological tools (including Google) seek to identify and present only the content which it knows we will be interested in, reducing or eliminating the opportunity to be exposed to new information, new ideas, and other viewpoints.
Pariser acknowledges that others have warned about this before, including Cass Sunstein in his book, Republic 2.0. Indeed, it was serindipity that led me to find Sunstein's book, and his misguided belief that government intervention would likely be required to avoid isolation in "enclaves." (Pariser reports that Sunstein has retreated from that suggestion.)
When I reviewed Republic 2.0, I believed that most consumers, or at least enough of us to matter, would actively seek out novel and different ideas.
But Pariser convinces me, in The Filter Bubble, that even the most thoughtful citizens, seeking to maintain exposure to new and different content and viewpoints, might be thwarted by the very tools we use to filter the flood of information.
Ironically more recently I had been becoming concerned that the results were starting to be "too good", with things my wife and I had been talking about coming up in searches, which I am hoping is more serendipity, rather than Google knowing me. But that is what this book is about and although there are a couple of instances where Pariser makes some statements that I think are a little optimistic (or pessimistic) overall I would argue that it is definitely a book that makes you think.
Clearly alternatives to Google and Bing and Yahoo exist, but DuckDuckGo for instance provides results that are just not quite as relevant and so I keep coming back to, well mostly Google, but I digress. The point of the book is to make you aware of the terms to the contract you are forming with any of those organisations or your social network provider(s) and what might be the outcome of this bargain.
Although I did find myself disagreeing with some of the things raised in the book (maybe I'm optimistic?) I found that I largely agreed that these are things we should be concerned about. And I think that's a good sign because generally when I watch TV and they are telling us what to worry about (oh my god: ice cream is mass produced in factories!) I get angry, with this I rather enjoyed the book and the issues and possible solutions raised. I guess a big part of that is that he did not dress this up as a sensationalist thing and hammered on about just the one point for 250 pages, rather took excursions onto the tangents that this issue entails.
I would recommend this book to young adults especially as they are more likely to reveal themselves online a lot, maybe without out giving it the thought it deserves, but really there is something here for anyone that has an interest in what's going in the world and is concerned that maybe their world view is just being reinforced to them. And I wonder to what extent this might have been an issue in the 2012 US presidential election, where the Republican Party seemed so entirely certain they were winning in a land slide. Various commentators were indicating they were in "a bubble" and deluding themselves, but I wonder to what extent the Internet was a source of the illusion.
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