What should we think of filter bubbles on social media?


Have you noticed how the Internet always agrees with you and seems to know what you like?

Eli Pariser was the first to describe the filter bubble phenomena in his book “The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You” (2011). According to him “a filter bubble is the intellectual isolation that can occur when websites make use of algorithms to selectively assume the information a user would want to see, and then give information to the user according to this assumption.”

It is especially true on social media where an infinite quantity of content is published every day. The social media algorithms are here to save us from being submerged and show us what we actually want to see. As a result, as each and every one of us interact on a specific subject, we slowly build our social affinity profile and directly influence what we are going to see next.

As marketers, these algorithms, their introductions and their updates have been in the centre of our conversations for the past five years.

Of course, their interest now seems obvious, especially for marketers. People that are more likely to like your product will be most likely to see it. It’s a great way for brand to increase penetration and build a core social audience.

However, some have questioned them, as they are said to isolate us from what we dislike and created what’s commonly referred to as a filter bubble. Some fear they will create a generation of narrow minded people. We might reach a point when chances you are subjected to a point of view very different to yours will grow scarcer and people will leave in adjacent but isolated “realities”.

So, even though it’s reassuring and comfortable to not be confronted, don’t forget every now and then to go and check what the other sides are up to. Keep an open mind, and don’t imagine something is true just because you say it is! J

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