Thursday, June 02, 2011

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser

The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser is a non-fiction book about a massive change that happened, and we didn't even realize it. In December 2009, Google began to customize its search results for each user. That means the results you get are based on what Google thinks you are most likely to click on, from what it knows about who you are. Google isn't alone either, from targeted advertising to what shows up on your Facebook, there is a deeply disturbing trend threatening us and because these websites aren't obligated to tell you what they know about us, it is happening largely without us knowing.

The Filter Bubble was both creepy and a little scary at times. As a blogger, I know that I put quite a bit of myself online intentionally, but it's incredible to learn how much else I put out there without even realizing it. How what I click on can be used to profit against me, or determine what I see when I use Google, skewing my view of the world. The whole point of the internet is the accessibility of information- but when you are inside the bubble, you're not getting a lot of that information and instead what you see is based on who you already are, and what you have done in the past. As Pariser puts it, the serendipity is gone. And randomness is where moments of brilliance happen.

Although The Filter Bubble is written from a distinctly American perspective, Pariser also manages to let the reader in on some of the policies in place in other countries. I live in Canada, but I am sure most of the book is still relevant although perhaps the legislation is slightly different. The biggest problem of course, is that in many cases there is no legislation, and this online personalization and the selling of information is something that we cannot ignore any longer. In The Filter Bubble, Pariser paints a scary picture, but it's one still possible to change if we educate ourselves and demand something better and picking up this book is a great place to start.

Release Date: May 12th, 2011
Pages: 304
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This review was a part of TLC Book Tours. Click here to read what other tour hosts thought. For the purpose of this review I was provided with a copy of the book which did not require a positive review. The opinions expressed in this post are completely my own.

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