I write a fair amount about media literacy on this blog. It’s a topic I consider myself to be fairly knowledgeable about. I also have a professional background in SEO (search engine optimization), which means that I have a solid enough grasp of how the Internet works and how pieces of information make it to each person’s browser. That being said, after watching this nine minute TED talk, I realized I’ve had my head in the sand about some critical shifts in the ways information is delivered to each net denizen. This is disconcerting both as a consumer of Internet information and as a parent striving to teach media literacy to my young children. I’m grateful to now be aware of the ways in which people are getting dramatically different information on the Internet and how the algorithmic calculation of information distribution is totally invisible to the end user. As my children get older and begin to use the Internet as the incredible information gathering tool it is, I will be able to help them be more critical consumers of what they discover.
I feel like I’m gumming up the message and importance of understanding filters, personalization and Internet literacy. Fortunately, TED presenter Eli Pariser does a far better job, explaining it very simply and compellingly. Take nine minutes to watch this video. I promise you will be grateful you did. It will probably be the best thing you’ve ever experienced on the Internet. Well, except maybe the insanity test.
TED Talk on YouTube (posted by WikiLeaks… I’m still not sure how I feel about them)
Here’s the link to the video on the TED site:
And here’s Eli’s website, where you can find loads more information about the Filter:
Finally, if you are looking for resources to learn more about media literacy, check out the unbranding section here.