Filter bubble, the shallows on steroids

Filter bubble

A friend (with thanks to Alan Boyd of Hoik) recommended “Filter Bubble”. Boy(d) am I impressed. It is a book that covers the impact of the introduction of personalised search. My search results on “soccer” will be very different than yours (Ajax!). And that has all kinds of consequences. Covers privacy, data, innovation, culture, the role of news, democracy, marketing, selling, tracking, etc.

Other books

Reminds me of “From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg” and how the internet can be a source of good, but also a source of evil (like the invention of the book, that opened knowledge to the masses but was then used as a way to enforce dogmas through books such as the bible). Also reminds me of “Brandwashed”, a nasty book about marketing.If you had any doubts about the internet after reading “Future minds” and “The shallows”, you be even more concerned. Big brother has arrived and is called Acxiom (billions of data profiles), Bluecavia (database of every computer, mobile device, pieces of hardware), Google and Facebook.

Why is that important to business?

  • Personalised search will make it more difficult to reach your target market.
  • Personalised search will impact on your innovation capability.
  • With the available data, you can pinpoint clients to a very high degree.
  • With the available data and technology, you can influence buying behaviour in ways that you can’t even imagine.
  • Data is everything.
  • You have to decide how ethical you want to be in data, tracking, influencing, branding and selling.
  • Expect a backlash if you are not.

New terms

Learned lots of new words:

  • Attention crash
  • Click signals
  • Retargeting (not taking ‘no” for an answer)
  • Advertar
  • Naive realism (we believe the world is as it appears to be)
  • Confirmation bias
  • Clickstreams
  • Information obesity
  • Persuasion profile
  • Advertiser funded media

Some interesting facts

Did you know that:

  • The top 50 sites install 64 cookies each on your computer to track your behaviour
  • 36% of Americans get their news from social media sites
  • Yahoo uses the stream of search queries to make news
  • 15% of Americans believed that Obama is Muslim.
  • The percentage has doubled
  • Targeted persuasion styles can increase the effectiveness of marketing material by 30-40%
  • The Netflix algorithm is better at making recommendations than you
  • LinkedIn can forecast where you will be in 5 years time
  • Personalisation will become the new marketing
  • The next attractive man or woman who friends you on Facebook could turn out to be an advertisement for a bag of chips
  • That in the future websites will morph to your personal preferences to increase your purchase intentions
  • We believe what we heard before

The consequence

We are dumbing down, hyperfocus and bias displace general knowledge, context, contrast, discovery, serendipity and ultimately innovation and creativity. You literally become what you click. As with food, you are what information you consume (picture information obesity). With as the ultimate consequence an identity loop and the threat of monoculture (1984).

What if…….

Through manipulation, curation, context and information flow you can be managed. Imagine a world where Google searches, Facebook likes, your e-mails, your documents (Google docs!), your DNA, your location data from your iPhone or Android, RFID on all the items you bought, the data from your cookies on your computer and more are all combined and are then used to:

  • sell
  • manipulate
  • influence

The cloud is just a handful of companies. What would happen if Google would do evil and Facebook goes into politics (!!!).

A passionate plea

As billions come online in India and Brazil and Africa, the Internet is transforming into a truly global place. Increasingly, it will be the place where we live our lives. But in the end, a small group of American companies may unilaterally dictate how billions of people work, play, communicate, and understand the world. Protecting the early vision of radical connectedness and user control should be an urgent priority for all of us.

The lessons for business; opportunity, threat, be aware, take a position


sensemaking cover


Sense making; morality, humanity, leadership and slow flow. A book about the 14 books about the impact and implications of technology on business and humanity.

Ron Immink

I help companies by developing an inspiring and clear future perspective, which creates better business models, higher productivity, more profit and a higher valuation. Best-selling author, speaker, writer.

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