It makes me reflect: to whom have I outsourced the media input, the stimuli that I take in, that in turn helps shape what I’m thinking about, and how my opinions evolve?
Logos is where I go to read the bible (and try to keep my Koine Greek language skills alive). I’ve been starting my day with the app for most of this year, and it’s been a helpful spiritual connection.
Feedly, which I use to keep up with 300 RSS feeds is something of a special case: at least for the most part I’m delegating to actual people who run websites for the content I’m reading. In case you’re curious, some of the Feedly content I push onto a stack to read later – either their “saved for later” content, or sometimes to Instapaper, which I read occasionally, but mostly don’t get back to.
Gmail seems a necessary evil at the moment, and its rules and spam handling keep a lid on how many different sources of information have the chance to interrupt me.
Twitter is more about when I choose to dip in, and which chaotic run of tweets will scroll past my eyes at a given time.
With Instagram, I’m still looking (at least briefly) at every photo, as I don’t follow enough people for it to become something I just dip into.
But other sources of information and entertainment include Facebook, linked in (which continues to copy Facebook in its approach to being a source of reading matter) iView player, YouTube, Vimeo and some movies, that I generally find via Apple TV).
For these, the content is curated by algorithms from a series of companies (who I trust with varying amounts of personal data) – it’s these sites that decide where my inputs come from. They present enough of a range of choices as to give the illusion that you have a well-rounded selection, but in fact, this is classic filter bubble.
Even when I asked my friends (via Facebook) for suggestions on new podcasts to listen to (I use a combination of the Downcast app for iOS and a website called HuffDuffer for one-off MP3’s), I find them already closely aligned with the kind of generic-interest-with-a-touch-of-comedy that I had already stumbled upon. Does this mean that podcasts outside 5by5, the NPR family, and Ear Wolf don’t exist, or am I not well-connected enough to people who have more diverse interests?
What’s the call-to-action for this post? Think through how much time you’re spending soaking up ideas from sources where you should be more critical of their origins.