Not to Burst Your Bubble….

Take a minute and check your Facebook. It’s okay.. we can wait!

Okay, now take a look at the ads on your news feed. Does anything look familiar? Maybe you were on a website earlier this week and now the brand is popping up everywhere? Or perhaps you recently bought tickets to a concert and now you are being bombarded with “Music You Might Like”… weird, right?

This type of personalized advertising is being used to zero in on potential customers. It isn’t just on Facebook either. Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, the list continues! With the advancement of technology and the increased popularity of social media sites, your purchase history on Amazon can be lined up with your recent Google search inquires. This personalized advertising helps filter down the type of ads shown to you. The advertisements you are most likely to respond to are splashed across your regular web browsing, increasing the advertisers chance in persuading you on your next purchase.thefilterbubble

However as Eli Pasiser points out in The Filter Bubble, this doesn’t just stop with advertising. It’s no secret that Facebook started filtering news feeds a while ago, but did you know Google filters results directly to you as well? Three people could search the same exact phrase and return different results. Pasiser argues that these personalized news feeds and search results limit the power of the internet. The filter bubble makes it harder for internet content to go viral, which limits the unity the internet can create behind a movement. It can also limit the information readily available at our fingertips because we are only seeing things our history indicates we would like to see, rather than something outside of our bubble.

The flip side is: we live in a generation of information overload. Is limiting our search results, customizing our advertising, and funneling down our news feeds that terrible? People used to have to do crazy things like go to the library and look information up in books and magazines… what?! Should we count our technological blessings or demand our free browsing back?

Michael Nunes, Daniel Schaefer, Alexandra Huss, Zach Abramo, Callie FenlonDann Williams, Lauren Habig

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15 thoughts on “Not to Burst Your Bubble….

  1. I have noticed the branding on Facebook and honestly it freaks me out. Its almost like someone is actually watching me and trying to make me buy their products. Even though the Google filter is unusual, its convenient for the viewer. This article makes the think about the people behind the scenes of my lap top. It also makes me want to be more aware of the products I purchase and the things I am searching online.

  2. That’s an interesting point. I was aware of the targeted advertising on Facebook, but I had no idea Google filtered your results as well! I tend to agree with Pasiser on this one — If I’m searching for information for a research paper, I want all the available information, not just what Google thinks is good for me. I think social media is completely different than search engines, though. Personally, I don’t want to see advertisements that don’t pertain to me. I used to completely ignore ads online until Facebook started personalizing them. Now, I’ve used at least one (and probably more) website that was advertised to me on Facebook. I think that, when determining what information to give people, the company needs to assess what their service is used for and whether it is for more personal use, or for research.

  3. the fact made about us, the United States, being a “branded nation,” is becoming more and more true everyday. This certainly shows that excellently. the fact that you cant escape ads anywhere on the internet is seems these days is a little annoying. On the other hand, its smart how they narrow down the ads that you see on your screen to pertain to what interest you and what you like personally.

  4. I do not think that these websites catering to our interests will be the end of society, and I am fairly sick of hearing people complain about how Google and Facebook is “in our brains”. In regards to Facebook, I am very used to the way they run things. I think our generation has been raised in the “Facebook Era”, and are becoming pretty reliant in the services the website has to offer. I will admit, I was a little freaked out the first time I went to read a news article on Huffington and saw my Fbook profile picture at the bottom of the page, but I have grown to accept what this means for our generation and society. We want results, we want them tailored to our needs, and we want them NOW! I think Google makes our lives easier by putting tailored search results at the top of the page because, who wants to look through literally thousands of options? I am not suggesting that these websites administer this private information publicly, or inviting other websites to try and advertise their services through emails and phone calls. I simply believe that Google, Facebook, and the like are trying to help us out and we should allow them to do just that.

  5. I was aware that websites advertise based on what other websites you visited or things you searched. I didn’t notice it until someone pointed it out to me. The first time I noticed it was after I purchased a watch on Amazon for a birthday present. After that I saw tons of watch advertisements everywhere! Now I notice every single ad and how each one is related to something I’ve searched in the past. I personally am not thrilled with this. It is kind of unsettling knowing that someone somewhere knows all of this information about you. It’s kind of like the rewards cards that grocery stores have. For example, Food Lion has an MVP card. Even though they advertise it as way to save you money that’s not the true purpose of it. The true purpose of it is so they can track exactly what you buy. I think it is very unnerving and disturbing that advertising is so personal.

  6. I had no idea about google doing that aswell, but regarding the question of whether this is bad or not can go in both way. Sometimes when you jsut need to quickly find something on google or anywhere else it’s nice to find exactly what your looking for fast and easy. It’s like listening to pandora or your ipod, you’re almost guarnteed to like what your about to hear because you have set limitations for the program. Setting those limitations can not be so nice. Sometimes people want to explore and find something new. Some people don’t want those limitations, they want to see everything and pick the best of the best. Those limitations just keep people from finding something totally new that they take interest in or just completely enjoy.

  7. I have noticed the Facebook ads before. For example, I am a huge Alabama fan and during football season there was always an ad on the side of my Facebook to buy Alabama merchandise. It’s a little scary that the internet seems to know so much information about me and customizes the sites to what I might like. So I also agree with the point Allison made about being more aware of what I purchase online. I did not know that Google also does this. I think that this is a helpful way to search online. There are already so many results by doing one Google search, that cusomizing the search for what I might like is helpful. It might eliminate me having to look at sites that don’t have information I need or want.

  8. I think that our online bubble can be convenient to internet users, as stated above we do live in an age of information overload and a more personal web could help us to sift through our interests more easily. This relatively new use of SEO (search engine optimization) enables advertisers to reach consumers on a more personal basis which is a more effective method of reaching buyers. It’s important to note however that while we are online next to every action we make is quantified and borders along an encroachment of privacy. Advertisers are even able to view any social content relative to their product on the web by using a program that searches sites such as twitter, facebook, foursquare, etc for keywords. Since advertising and PR are generally integrated today, IMC companies can then respond to these comments to appear very attune to their consumer base.

  9. I also have noticed the branding and advertising Facebook does for me on my page and it is a little frightening. It’s crazy how technology is able to track the things we search for and the things we like. I do although count my technological blessings. I would much rather do all my searching from my home on my computer rather than having to go somewhere such as the library and learn how the library works and spend hours looking for the one thing I am looking for.

  10. I read this and the first reaction that comes to mind is that marketing has become a monster that is constantly trying to attack you. Okay not exactly but how you purchase one item then all of a sudden “things you might also like” and everything I do like starts to pop up! It’s as if they are inside your head and know everything about you. It’s important to be consciously aware of what sites you are putting your information on and purchasing. I like the convenient aspect but it’s almost overwhelming at the same time because it’s always being thrown in your face.

  11. I had somewhat of an idea that google filtered my results, but I had no idea it was so personalized. I think it poses a bit of an issue when researching- I don’t want things that I already know, or places I’ve been to- I want new things!! As for the advertisements on facebook, I’ve learned to turn a blind eye to them. I have used a few, but generally, I don’t need the new clothes that the sites advertise, so I feel as though it’s not needed. I’m onto them….

  12. When I’m being catered to as I am (or as Facebook thinks I am) it is difficult to become more than I am. If I like a golf equipment company and suddenly get golf ads and watch mostly the golf channel it is all too easy to think golf is what matters most and my identity as a golfer is most worth preserving and expressing to the world. Nothing wrong with golf but this a vastly limited view of the self and it takes all the more diligence on our parts to work against it now that narrow casting on cable TV and filters such as those you adeptly summarize above are operating in our lives.

  13. After reading this my first reaction was that the only time I am not being exposed to advertisement is when I am asleep. I honestly think it is creepy that you may go buy an item from a boutique online and the next day there are emails and facebook ads popping up of what you may like that is similar to that item. Another example of this would be a Harris Teeter VIC card which shows Harris Teeter every purchase you have made and your spending habits while never allowing you to seek this information. It is important to understand Advertisement and how branded our nation truly is.

  14. Pingback: Social Networking/ Privacy and the Filter Bubble | UnnySankar

  15. Pingback: In bula mea e cald si bine | Raluca Zagura

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