Keeping an Open Mind When Algorithms Control What You Read

Pretty much everything you see online, from search results to your Facebook feed, is generated by algorithms. This invisible code prioritizes information that it thinks you’ll like — which can turn your online experience into an echo chamber of identical opinions. How can you keep algorithms from penning in your worldview? To start with, think about how dangerous it can be to see only things that you already agree with. Be skeptical of the veracity and comprehensiveness of your internet feeds.

Make sure you’re reading widely about issues in the world, and deliberately follow people with views that differ from yours. By expanding what you read and pay attention to, you’ll force the algorithms to broaden their recommendations. And occasionally get off the radar, to see an unfiltered view of the web: Put your browser in incognito mode, or search anonymously using a search engine that doesn’t track you.

Open the bag…

Put a bag of sweets in the break room and it might sit for days.

Open the bag and leave it out, and within an hour, all the sweets will be gone.

We are happy to take a tiny slice off the thing that’s being shared, but we hesitate to open the bag.

The same is true with all of the initiatives in our culture. Design, movements, and ideas are all trapped, waiting to be opened, and then the rest of us will happily pile on.

Sometimes all it takes is Open the bag, Open the mind…