A book I read some time ago that shaped a lot of my thinking, is Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble. The premise is simple. If online platforms are catoring for people by building pictures of them and giving them content they are interested in, what are the implications of that development? To get a scope of this development Pariser quotes Mark Zuckerberg who said in 2007 “We’re actually producing news in a single day for our 19 million users thanany other media outlet has in its entire existence.” ( 37) It’s an amazing statement that has only become more extreme six years later.
Pariser draws many useful conclusions using a variety of sources however the core criticism of these attentional filters predicates on the idea that if you are always exposed to the things you like, how do you grow as a person? More accurately when you consider the scale of the issue, what becomes of hominisation? These are many of the issues Stiegler (2012) and Terranova (2012) have confronted on the issue of attention in the digital space and they are likely to be issues that will not disappear anytime soon. For a general overview of the scale of the problem and the methods corporations are using to direct attention in certain ways, The Filter Bubble is a useful source.
Pariser, E. (2011) The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You, London: Penguin Books.
|Stiegler, B. (2012) ‘Relational Ecology and the Digital Pharmakon’, in Culture Machine, Volume 13, 2012.|
Terranova, T. (2012) ‘Attention, Economy and the Brain’, in Culture Machine, Volume 13, 2012.