Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Big Brother is virtual but alive and well

In Orwell's 1984 people knew Big Brother existed. In present day 2013 most of us don't know the degree to which we are being manipulated.  Oh, not by a specific malovalent organization but by a supposedly benign commercial world telling us what we want to know and NOT telling us things we don't want to know.  Information bubbles have been a part of the internet world since 2006, I have just read in an excerpt from Eli Paviser's book, The Flilter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing What We Read and How We Think.

To tell the truth I am grateful for the program at Amazon that periodically tells me "You may also enjoy ..." Because I find books that I didn't know existed and, yes, I often want, and purchase, them. We can't open our email without seeing that many companies are trying to sell us things, We get email, banners and various cutsey attentions grabbers. Some are very irritation (I DON'T want to know about elegible men in my neighborhood!)  But the bubble is not just irritating and sometimes seemingly irrational.  Originally Google's algorithm just complied the most popular and frequented sites.  This is no longer what happens.  Two people can search the same thing and get greatly different lists.  The example I read was two people who searched BP at about the time of the Gulf oil spill.  One person got news about the spill the other person got BP's investment reports and information about what a strong company they are without any news at all about the oil spill. This kind of example is very scary. That 1% out there is not getting the same information the 99% are getting -- to exaggerate a little bit, but apparently not much. 

This is not a Big Brother you can hide from.  You can only, if you care enough, seek your own information. Being a concerned individual is a bigger burden and comes with far more individual responsibility than ever before.  I go back to the previous post about the movie and the response of the film maker who told the concerned woman that the 1% have 99% of the  public media.  And yes, they have the mechanisms of the filter bubble too. They ONLY want to sell us things ... or so it seems. I don't think there is a conspiracy.  No, I'm not saying that. I think think we've become a corporate-ocacy, like it or lump it.

4 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Perhaps by you bringing this deception of searching to light you have made many of us more aware of how the corporate world is grabbing our thoughts toward their direction. Be aware of your surrounding especially when it comes to the internet, thanks -- barbara

June Calender said...

I'm afraid most people are very unaware, don't read widely enough to get the information, maybe don't want to know. We get so much information ... but don't realize much of it is targeted to us specifically. I don'tlike the prospect of being a puppet to those who are trying to sell me things.

Zippi Kit said...

I'm so aware of this that I put a program called Do Not Track Me on my computers. Google is the biggest tracker. Thanks for the excellent post. Have a wonderful holiday, June.

June Calender said...

Thanks Zippi. I hope the program works. I will look into it.