It is what you want but not what you need.

The moments in my life where I have been able to stretch myself, change imbedded behaviors, develop a larger world view, encompass and incorporate positive difference in my life have all come from epic life failures on my part. Some of my biggest failures allowed me to rise up out of the ashes like a phoenix and grow into a person that was a little bit better, a little more wise, a little more kind each time. Your burdens are you blessings.

Makes sense. Why would I change something that I was doing right in my life? Why would anyone? Change is hard and I would argue that without serious motivation most people just aren’t going to change.

Why fix it if it ain’t broken?

Which is why a particular TED talk I watched last week has rattled around in my brain and continued to bother me. The talk is only 9 minutes long an it’s worth a look. He talks about how our internet, our Facebook, our google searches are now tailored to our own personal tastes.

The Ted talk was by Eli Pariser. Beware Online “filter bubbles”

I had a friend bring up this topic over a year ago and I flippantly responded that this entire concept was perfect. Why wouldn’t I want them showing me more of what I liked and wanted? I believe at the time, my friends concern was along the lines of these huge databases and the government knowing everything about us. Forget big brother, we are shoving our information in their face.

we areI’m such a loud mouth, it’s hard for me to really gather up much concern about people knowing information about me. As long as it’s not my bank account information, I’ll pretty much tell you anything you want to know. Plus, I’ll throw in a lot of information you don’t want to know. I could talk about my family digestive habits for days on end if I could find someone willing to participate in that discussion with me.

The problem is that the problem is bigger than that. A lot bigger.

Eli Pariser argues that in the beginning the internet blew open wide the control and the specific information fed to us by the editors of the newspapers and television networks. So we think of the internet as connecting us all together. Having all the information at a click of a button.

Maybe that was true in the beginning. It’s not true now.

We no longer have a human editor with ethical standards. We have computer algorithms that just give us more and more of what we continue to click on.

Eli Pariser states that we are now isolated in a web of one.

The people that read about terrorist attacks all day will continue to live in a newsfeed filled with mainly terrorist attacks. If you search vacation information all time, google will even filter out the big news feeds regarding terrorist attacks and give you vacation information. If you are constantly clicking on feeds regarding the bigotry in the world, your news will begin to only give you articles showing you how miserable the world is.

The TED talk gives an example of how our google searches are even tailored toward our tastes. If my husband clicks on a topic, his first page of suggestions usually revolve around any political information surrounding that topic. My same search will pull up social and emotional and fluff articles about the same topic.

differentlyNo one is getting balance. No one is getting the big picture. We will continue to sink into our prejudices, our bigotry, our self righteousness and our isolation. I’m talking about everyone. All cultures, all ethnicities. Our Web of One is stunting our growth and making us miserable people. Other people will be the bad people and we will be the good people. My view is correct and theirs is wrong. They are out to get me and I must be extreme in return.

I am right. Look at all this information that validates how right I am each and every day. I don’t need to change. I am right. You are wrong.

The people that seek out the articles about the devastation and destruction we inflict upon each other will continue to see and believe that is the totality of our world. The people that only want light and fluff and happy articles will continue to have an unrealistic view of the world and will never see the topics that they need to take a stand for.

Decisions are being made out of ignorance, fear, hate and the worst thing about it is that we believe we are informed. We believe we are seeing the world. But you are locked in a room that only shows you mirrors. An endless vision of what you already know and want to see.

uncomfortableI don’t know anyone that amazing that they don’t need to grow and stay informed. When you can change your thoughts, you can transform your life.

If we want to grow as individuals and as a society the news needs to make us uncomfortable. The information we seek out needs to challenge us and show us other points of view. We need the big picture to make informed choices.

We need to be able to rise from the ashes like a phoenix and become who we were meant to become. Not sad repetitions of who we have always been.

It’s time to pop the bubble.

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