Monday, November 21, 2016

Filter Bubble

Beware the filter bubble !!!!

For the uninitiated --  filter bubble refers to search engines prompting and narrowing down your searches based on history and location.

Often seems convenient when you do the search online.
So long as you search for hotels, accommodations, places of touristic interests and night clubs there is no threat.
When you search for stories and views it gets murkier.

You get to read what the net wants you to read.

Or more precisely “what the net thinks that you want to read”.

You keep reading what you have been reading. You do not get to see the other side.

Sounds confusing.

If you have searched for Trump and read four or five articles that were Anti-Trump, chances are the next time you search Trump the top search returns revolve around the “anti-Trump” theme ONLY.

So you end up reading more and more of only one view.
It reinforces the initial opinion and does not allow you the choice of reading about the counterview to help you form your opinion.
It requires a highly sane and stable mind to search further and look at more data and opinions before forming one.

In this world today where we have created an illusion of paucity of time, it is easy to select the first story and conclude.

It is similar to a judge listening only to the prosecutor throughout the trial and passing judgment.
Scary, right?

It is happening to you and all of us and we need to take  care of it in time.
Filter bubble is a new term in this techno world.

But is the phenomenon new?

We have all been practicing it for centuries.

The usual suspects are religion, community and politics.

I recall this famous quote “People listen to reply; not to understand”

This is the after effect filter bubble that one should be careful about.

How many times in our lives have we listened to a counterview and actually changed our stand?

Compare it to how often we stood our ground and held on to our own views and convictions that were, in all probability, conceived on less information.

Let us look at all those crossroads, in retrospection, where we ended a conversation, a discussion by saying “I have nothing more to say” and use clever escape routes like “I agree to disagree”.

The religion and politics have demonstrated that repetition of one-sided view for too long have yielded the results desired. Where the majority calls the shots and the minority is questioned, threatened and often left to isolate themselves rather than get drawn into a controversy.

The saner minds have rebelled, periodically, and have lent a sense of balance to, still, a skewed system .

Greater damage has been done and will continue to occur in the realm of society and in relationships between individuals.

How predictable this cancer is:

We listen. We observe. We form an opinion. We tend to listen more selectively. Or filter out what we hear selectively. We ignore the other side as an aberration or as a mere act. If we see a relationship deteriorating we discuss it everywhere and with everyone except with the person concerned.

Probably with the underlying fear, which we will never acknowledge, that the assumptions made could be blown away to smithereens by a simple explanation.

We forego years of efforts and the results in the blink of an eye. We are never prepared to see our conclusions, arrived at through the filter bubble, be proven wrong. We would rather let the conclusions based on our assumptions prevail. And to ensure that it prevails we would continue to assimilate more opinions of the chosen version to feed the situation.

The two individuals could be husband-wife; father-son; brothers; brother-sister; friends;

I have been a witness to all such combinations. I am yet to see a mother being an active participant in this imbroglio.

Women yes but mothers NO.

Maybe there is a lesson there!


  1. Replies
    1. Nothing prompts - general observations being crystallised into an article - triggered however by a conversation with my nephew where both filter bubble and echo chamber wad mentioned - and I thought is filter bubble only limited to technology and there