Circles and Cycles Versus More

Things circle around, coming back over and over. Sometimes it is by design, other times it is by happenstance. Whether it’s a trend, your own targeted awareness, general popularity or an alarming increase in occurrences is debatable. When it comes to the online world one of the new blames is filter bubbles driven by social data sources. What are those you say? You go on a social network like Facebook. You connect up with friends with similar interests, similar views. They post similar items and share them around. They dislike the same things so those items never come up. You see more and more of the same until someone breaks the cycle, or if you have varied interests and friends in each groups. Then along comes the smart software that scores or rates what it thinks you will find interesting based on what you tell it you like and don’t like. It refines what you see and then you end up with even more of the same, and certainly not anything different, or so the fear goes–it’s not necessarily unfounded until the people creating the filters (algorithms) make them so that not too much of what you might want to see, but didn’t know about, doesn’t disappear.

One aspect of all of this is the aforementioned lack of ability to know if something is becoming more prevalent or just more reported. Put a different way, it can be hard to differentiate between a real increase in the number of events per population (whether that is population of people or of articles/ideas) or just that with a larger group there will naturally be more instances.

So what is the point of all of this? It’s part general observation based on particular articles, news stories, and subjects that I keep seeing crop up. Partly I don’t have a specific point right now other than to throw this out there as something to consider both when reading and when writing.

Music: Incense and Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock.

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