I have been using personal blogs on and off since the late 1990s. About 10 years ago I decided to move most of my online communication to other forms of social media, in particular Facebook. While this seemed a good idea at the time – Facebook was still new and it was a really good medium to manage both your personal and professional networks – the very idea of social media has taken a sharp turn to the worse recently. And I am not talking about the issues related to privacy. I am talking about the proliferation of algorithms that have the purpose of autonomously selecting what I or anybody else is supposed to find interesting.
The unintended result of these algorithms is that we start to live with an extremely narrow view of the world. We primarily see things we already agree with. You can call this an echo chamber or a filter bubble. The result is the same. Social media systems have started to reinforce the views and opinions of its users. They are no longer serving the purpose of extending our horizon. And as such, they have become utterly useless, and potentially – one could argue – even dangerous. At the very least they are no longer really “social”. They still want to give us the impression that we are communicating with the world, but in reality we are only reaching a select few within the filter bubble that we have created for ourselves by surrendering to content selection algorithms.
And so I have decided to start a blog again, mainly because I want to be in control what people see but also because I want to have something that has a little more permanence so that I can reference it more easily. To some extent, the purpose of this blog is really more for keeping a record of the things I do and make. Whether or not people see or read the things published here is actually somewhat secondary.