You want to know this: why your posts on Facebook don’t get read

Take two scenarios: Something horrifically bad happens. You decide to share it on Facebook expecting your friends to see it. Then you get just a couple of comments, and you worry why so few care.

Or lets say you have a politically diverse group of friends on Facebook, and you post something to get the notice of those that don’t share your view, but no cross conversation happens. You’re left thinking that those ‘on the other side’ ‘just don’t get it’ or are ‘elitist’ or are ‘stupid’.

You maybe a victim of your own fine tuned Filter Bubble. Or your friends. The Filter Bubble is what Eli Pariser calls the effect you experience by an Internet, filtered by your profile, by unseen algorithms, in an attempt to get you to click on what you are most likely to click. It puts convenience and instant gratification ahead of shared experience.

I’d argue that filters are a boon (a search on Google for “Java” from me *should* provide results biased towards the programming language instead of coffee or the region) but Pariser’s points need to be shouted from rooftops because along with the terrific convenience and responsiveness, something important is taking place, we are mostly unaware, and the consequences could be severe.

Don’t take it from me. Watch Eli Pariser’s talk at Beware online “filter bubbles”:

Related Links:

Boing Boing: “The Filter Bubble: how personalization changes society”

Metafilter: “Filter Bubbles”

Nick Judd at the Personal Democracy Forum asks in The Filter Bubble and the News You Need To Know: if you want to create a search tool that finds the news you need to know, rather than the news you want to read, where do you begin?

Mike Elgan at Computer World offers suggestions on popping your filter bubble.

There is a blog and book focused on the Filter Bubble.

Does the Internet “Change Nothing?”

Read this thought provoking essay by Marshall Poe.

Then read Scott Berkun’s thoughts.

Then make up your own mind, because this story is still being written isn’t it?

Journalism Warning Labels

I like this – a lot. Makes a whole hell of a lot more sense than PMRC warning labels, that’s for sure. I wonder if a Firefox plugin, enabling some social review mechanism to apply these labels would work. Probably too small of an audience. Besides, I think Tom Scott was joking. I think. Gotta send him an email.

Contents Not Verified 🙂

Is this a ‘Have you no sense of decency momment?’

The Atlantic: James Fallows: “On Today’s Hot Media Stories: Sherrod, “Journolist”.

The only way it would be so is if we collectively stop watching, stop clicking, and stop linking to such witch hunts, such hatred, served in pursuit of traffic and ratings.

And you would think that by now, in our media-savvy land, we’d instinctively know that soundbites out of context lead to misunderstanding.

For a world of context from all sides, check out the Memeorandum thread.

Ethan Zuckerman at TEDGlobal on the challenge and opportunity

Interested in how information reaches those it needs to reach? Intersted in acts of journalism crossing cultural gulfs and divides? Interested in web services and connectivity? You will want to watch Ethan Zuckerman’s talk at TEDGlobal 2010 and I hope be inspired: “Ethan Zuckerman: Listening to global voices”:

Check out his ideas on how to use Twitter to open up your world.

Zuckerman and danah boyd are helping establish a reasoned view of the Web and its potential based upon its now decade-plus history. It is why I feel project’s like Zuckerman’s Global Voices are so important. Following is danah boyd’s talk at PDF 2009: “danah boyd – PdF2009 – The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”:


Ethan Zuckerman’s transcription of the talk

danah boyd: transcription of her Personal Democracy Forum (PDF) 2009 talk: “The Not-So-Hidden Politics of Class Online”

Clay Shirky: “Power Laws, Weblogs, and Inequality” John Naughton: “The internet: Everything you ever need to know”


“If you believe in The Long Tail, then stop saying the web is “flat” okay?”

“It exists, and its influence matters”

The call to action:

raise voices, go beyond babel, engineer serendipity, build bridges, cultivate xenophiles, rewire

A metal band that bridges cultures

Al Jazeera: “The Maiden frontier”:

As many metal fans from the region have pointed out to me, Maiden’s songs remind them that they should not trust the hype and slogans promising a better tomorrow, that progress demands putting aside easy prejudices in favour of a much harder but more honest discussion about the future and that they should remember the past but not be afraid of the future.

…Of course, building a successful career as a rock band, however difficult, is nothing compared to building an alternative economic and cultural system in a region plagued by war, occupation, authoritarianism and poverty. But the point of music and the artists who produce the culture the rest of us consume is rarely to provide a direct blueprint for action.

Instead, it is to inspire, to give a vision of a different future and the courage to get up in the morning and figure out how to survive and even thrive in a system that is very much not set up for your benefit.

More than one member of Iron Maiden has told me that perhaps the greatest gift they can give fans is joy. And whether in Dubai or Madison Square Garden, the concerts were filled with joy, from musicians and fans alike.

Metal is often accused of being music about death, and certainly Iron Maiden’s songs can often seem, on the surface, violent and blood-soaked. But as one Iranian metal musician said about the genre, and Maiden in particular, “what’s amazing is how a music about death in fact affirms life”.

A shocking source of TV news coverage of the oil leak?

G4 and Kevin Pereira: “BP Oil Spill Effect on Wildlife”.

G4, the games channel. Yes, the games channel!

This makes sense in a world where the most informative pieces of national news journalism are coming from a music magazine and nightly comedy show doesn’t it?

Recent Journalist-Programmer reads

O’Reilly Radar: Mike Loukides: “What is Data Science?”

Media Shift: Marc Glaser: “Why Journalists Should Learn Computer Programming”

Rafe Colburn: “Why journalists should learn to program” – with a suggestion on what really to be digging into – and I agree.

Resource: Hacks/Hackers

Parenting while plugged in – don’t do it

I am guilty as charged and with Richelle’s help, changing my ways: NYTimes: “The Risks of Parenting While Plugged In”:

…children in higher socioeconomic homes hear an average of 2,153 words an hour, whereas those in working-class households hear only about 1,251; children in the study whose parents were on welfare heard an average of 616 words an hour.

Part of the reason the children in affluent homes she studied developed larger vocabularies by the time they were 3 is that “parents are holding kids, the kids are on their lap while the parent is reading a book,” Dr. Hart said. “It is important for parents to know when they’re talking to kids, they’re transferring affection as well as words. When you talk to people, there’s always an implicit message, ‘I like you,’ or ‘I don’t like you.’ “

Maureen Johnson – “I am not a brand.”

Maureen Johnson: “Manifesto”:

The internet is made of people. People matter. This includes you. Stop trying to sell everything about yourself to everyone. Don’t just hammer away and repeat and talk at people–talk TO people. It’s organic. Make stuff for the internet that matters to you, even if it seems stupid. Do it because it’s good and feels important. Put up more cat pictures. Make more songs. Show your doodles. Give things away and take things that are free. Look at what other people are doing, not to compete, imitate, or compare . . . but because you enjoy looking at the things other people make. Don’t shove yourself into that tiny, airless box called a brand–tiny, airless boxes are for trinkets and dead people.

Read the whole thing