By seeing the title, don’t assume that it is Mod-bashing article. I was reading a book called ‘Where will Man take us’, an interesting book by Atul Jain. Though I have never heard this author’s name before, the book is powerful and I would recommend it. On this article, I am touching upon an aspect mentioned about social media/internet in this book, which is no way the main content of the book.
Earlier societies were more like islands, with minimum transfer of information. As humans evolved more, we developed better means of communication. Islands were broken down. Bridges were built for various reasons. If we look around, we could say that internet and social media is the greatest means of communication. They were also supposed to be the greatest source of information. Within these frameworks, it is good to ask some questions;
- Are they the greatest transmitters of information too? [Source.. yes]
- Are they recreating islands? [may not be geographical islands, but human sub groups which effectively work as islands.
If I search for a foot wear in Google, there is a high chance that you will see similar ads in my amazon or Flipkart account too. Our accounts are becoming personalized. We see things which we want to buy; we see the news which we want to hear. Is internet and social media becoming over-personalized.
I was an active opponent of Modi during the elections. I shared so many posts in the hope that I could convert some of the Modi Bhakts. But Atul Jalan would say, the over-personalization in the search engines and in the feed of social media helps us to see my own favourite news-items. Thus sharing by a Modi bhakt will reinforce the views of co-bhakts. The same is true with all such groups.
We are creating our own sub-groups who feed on material to each other and we become a closed group. You would need creative social media strategies to break open and enter some other groups whose ideology differs from you. Although internet is a global library containing all sorts of information, you only have instant access to certain types of information (which are closer to my biases, likes, interests etc). We have to put specific efforts (like search more) to get access to the information that is not of my type.
In the post-modern world, we cant forget or neglect the differences of the people. But differences needn’t divide or build walls between the people. They needn’t be agents of polarization. Over-personalization available with the internet gives us practical helps, but are agents of division too. But collaboration and synergy are required for a sustainable development, which includes the development of all. For that, our over-personalization in the internet need to give in for something else. We need a synergy of perspectives, objectivity, truth, personalization, efficiency and many such factors.
[To be contd….] if not in writing, atleast in my thinking. Looking forward to your perspectives on the same. You could read more on filter bubble.