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Internet Social Networks: Our World View Is Narrowing

     
9:43 am on Jul 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Social Networks: Our World View Is Narrowing [bbc.co.uk]
He said that the web was now contrary to the original utopian vision and users focused on information from a handful of wealthy countries.

"It's making us 'imaginary cosmopolitans'," he told delegates.

Social networks, he said, made the problem worse with the majority of people sharing information with folk who share their world-view.

"We think we're getting a broad view of the world, because it's possible that our television, newspapers and internet could be giving us a vastly wider picture than was available for our parents or grandparents," he said.

"When we look at what's actually happening, our world-view might actually be narrowing."
10:29 am on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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How true. Another manifestation of a world narrowing notion is easily seen when travelling. Younger generations wear the same clothes, listen to the same types of music, etc in most countries around the world. While, the older generations maintain a more distinct look, clothing, customs.
12:00 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I know that when I buy a paper I glance at every article and decide which are interesting enough to read.
When I look at the news on the web I focus on the subject areas that I think will interest me.
12:05 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I also agree. The reason is: Companies optimize for the dumb and uneducated. For a simple reason: There are more of those out there.

Take a look at Google for example. Several years ago I only needed to enter a search term in french and I would get french results. I would enter a search term in english and would get english results. I would enter a search term in german and get german results.

Now if I enter a search term in english, I get german results that had nothing to do with what I was looking for.

If I want to have english results I have to go to google.com, then I am redirected to goolge.de, then I have to click on "google.com in english". When I want french results I have to got to google.fr, then I enter a search term and I do not get french results, then I realize I have to click on "google in french" to get french results.

Or Paypal: Let's say you are in Poland for six month and want to order something online and pay with Paypal but have it shipped to Poland. Good luck to you in trying to change the language on the Paypal payment page to something else than polish.

Also many websites will check my location and display a local website without asking. For example youtube or cnn.com.

So for a good web experience do not travel or work in foreign countries and don't try to search in foreign languages.
12:05 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Sure, much new-tech chat is inane and only some is expansive, but it was before the tech, it was just local then. Regardless of the technology, there will always be people who only want to discuss dumb stuff, but there will also always be people who want to know more. The global one to one communcation that new-tech gives us has its pros and cons. I dislike the cons but I abhor loss of the pros:
- Obsess about characterless brands: coke, nike...
- Discover rights and equality when your society tells you they're not important,
- Publish crime, from car theft to police supression e.g. Iranian election protesters,
- ... lots more
1:09 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Companies optimize for the dumb and uneducated. For a simple reason: There are more of those out there.


LOL - nicely put as it's completely, 100%, undeniably right on the mark.

The 'uneducated' also control a suprising level of cash too (look at George Dubya ;))

TW
1:40 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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If I want to have english results I have to go to google.com, then I am redirected to goolge.de, then I have to click on "google.com in english". When I want french results I have to got to google.fr, then I enter a search term and I do not get french results, then I realize I have to click on "google in french" to get french results.

Ha, absolutely! Do those idiots understand what they do with the 'concept' of customized search? Do they understand this is just creating a huge group of web lunatics that would never come across something really new?

NEWS! If they follow my interests and serve only corresponding news, that means I would never see something really new!
1:40 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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People tend to read what reinforces their existing opinions. Back in the day when there were only three TV networks, everyone watched the same things since there were no other choices. There was a sense of a large, shared community, all tuned to the same thing. Now there are so many segmented choices, that the sense of a large, shared community is disappearing. Now it is all about niche communities, creating a narrower world view for many. Doesn't bode well, in my opinion.
2:07 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Now it is all about niche communities, creating a narrower world view for many.

There should be both! Broader and narrower view. This is why there is difference between search and research!
2:41 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Marketing and politics are then driven by what moves these various groups.

For example, there are segments that are driven by their naivete and fear. They believe the world is simple and dangerous. If you want to sell to these people, it's easier to adopt their view of the world. Which, of course, reinforces that view.

What we are seeing is that the segments are being broken down by education and income, then by age and geography, then by race and gender, then by interests. So you'll have high school-only burger flippers in their teens in Alabama who are white girls that really dig string theory finding each other and "sharing."
3:00 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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"-You're not just tellin' us what we want to hear, are you?
-No sir, no way.
-'Cause we just want to hear the truth.
-Well, then, I guess I am tellin' you what you want to hear.
-Didn't we just tell you not to do that?
-Yes sir.
-Well, OK then."

--"Raising Arizona"
3:35 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Marketing and politics are then driven by what moves these various groups.

Different groups are driven by different reasons. Question is what Google is driven by when implementing 'custom' search for organic serps? The answer is AdWords! They want to personally identify and/or create the perfect target for a certain AdWords ad. But this is a trap. You can not reconcile organic and paid search if your only goal is to maximize profit! Greed has killed more people than starvation. This is also true for companies.

People will soon realize they are caged to be a perfect target. And they'll try to break free by going to alternative search engine.
4:04 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Perfectly said, ignoring people who know how "ONLY" to play with words !
4:39 pm on July 15, 2010 (gmt 0)

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OK
He said that the web was now contrary to the original utopian vision and users focused on information from a handful of wealthy countries.

"It's making us 'imaginary cosmopolitans'," he told delegates.

Social networks, he said, made the problem worse with the majority of people sharing information with folk who share their world-view.

This is not the fault of the "WEB", this is the evolution of society.

Education does play a large factor in just how much and how someone is able to filter out sense vs. non-sense. Not that it's entirely education, but also one's ability to be able to back up and see the forest for the trees. It is no wonder that there is some itteration of mind control going on all the time. But it all still boils down to a societal evolution.
12:18 am on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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This is not the fault of the "WEB", this is the evolution of society.

Or more likely the devolution of society.

These days in the U.S. you can try telling someone you enjoy reading the English version of the most-read newspaper in the World to try to get a more accurate World view, and many would call you a Communist. Kinda like the Salem witch trials.

I operate a website with writers from all over the World and I'm trying to tackle this issue of the 'narrowing of minds.' Any advice on how to move in the other direction?
5:50 pm on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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In the final analysis, people are just frightened. Of life. Of death. It's why religion continues its grasp. Feed people what they want to hear, what makes them feel better, and they will keep reading it. It is how publishers will stay in business.
6:54 pm on July 16, 2010 (gmt 0)

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I thought about putting this in the earlier post but wanted to wait but it does seem that it's in alignment or at least parallels what the bible says.

2 Timothy 2-4
2Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourageŚwith great patience and careful instruction. 3For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.
7:15 am on July 17, 2010 (gmt 0)

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The very best mythology, the most successful, is the one that can convince it's not a mythology huh? How ironic. But that it's in the bible should demonstrate the power of the forces (instincts?) at play and the accuracy of the theory in question.
4:32 am on July 18, 2010 (gmt 0)

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Indeed
 

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