When you watch a TV show, the content of the show and advertisements are the same for you as they are for you neighbour. The same is true for a radio programme.
However, this is not true for the internet. All social media feeds are different for each of us. Our google results are different from each other. And all the advertisements are unique to us. Our interaction with the internet is based on our historical interaction. This is partly due to cookies and not the chocolate chip kind.
Therefore our internet experience is unique and individualised. The benefit of this is that we see more content and advertisements that are relevant to us. The content I see tends to fit my worldview. For the internet companies it means more revenue as I will click on more ads and they ‘learn’ more about my interests.
But it also thickens the walls of my echo chamber. I have less common experiences with my neighbour. I don’t ‘see’ or hear a different point of view. It can all be a massive confirmation bias experiment. And it is all driven by revenue generation. After all, I am the product now.
This can be good for generating revenue and it can be good for finding others who think like us globally. However, it is not good for building local communities, local dialogue, local discussions. And it rarely helps us listen to the ‘other’.
Photo by Wonderlane