The filter bubble
By Liz Harter
For our second installment of the YPN Book Club, we read Eli Pariser’s The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web is Changing the Way We Read and Think. In May, we’ll be sharing a write-up on our next book: Talent is Overrated by Geoffrey Colvin.
The Internet was supposed to connect us. It was supposed to be a great equalizer in the world, and then it wasn’t. Next came social media and it was supposed to allow us to connect to everyone in the world, and then it didn’t. Eli Pariser shares this fact in his book which focuses on the major change Google announced in December 2009 – Personalized search for everyone. Now, instead of a great equalizer where everyone has access to all of the same information, we’re being served search results, advertisements and even friend suggestions based on the actions we’ve made in the past. Our search history follows us everywhere, and while Pariser focuses on what that means for us Online, it also provided us a major tip that we can use Offline, too.
Did you know that if you and I google the exact same phrase we will get different search results? I’m not just talking about getting different ads on top of our search results, I’m talking entirely different first pages of results with different focuses. I’m talking the fact that what I search for may have 180,000 search results while your results for the exact same search term may only return 120,000 items. The same is true if we visit a newspaper’s website – your top story will be different than mine. And it’s most especially true on Facebook where even if we have the exact same friends and follow the exact same pages our newsfeeds will be different based on our past activities on the social network. These are the Filter Bubbles that we live with every day even if we aren’t aware of them.
Pariser spends quite a bit of time describing just how we’ve gotten to a place where “fake news” can spread rapidly across the internet and convince a lot of people that it’s real. He also explains how “the algorithms that orchestrate our advertisements are starting to orchestrate our lives” as algorithms decide what we’ll see in our email, in our search results, on our Facebook news feeds, on our Yelp and even webpages in ways that we never thought of way back in 2008. But more importantly, he implores us to intentionally reach outside these filtered bubbles to gain more information and see a fuller picture of the world.
This can be as simple as navigating to a new website to read news or following someone with an opposing viewpoint on Twitter. You can also clear your browsing history and delete cookies to get a broader picture of the world. But what can we do offline to burst these bubbles?
How often do we attend a YPN luncheon with a few coworkers where you all walk to the same table and sit down? Or do you immediately beeline for two or three people you’ve met before to sit with them? I know that I am guilty of this. So how many people do we meet that day? Maybe one or two?
So, at the next event you attend, take a chance and reach beyond your bubble to say hello to someone new. Afterall, that’s what YPN is here for – to develop, connect and empower young people in our region.
Do you have an idea for a book we should read? Tweet or Instagram @YPNSouthBend and share your recommendations using #YPNTalk.
One common thread when people are looking for a new job or starting a new job is an intense focus on what to wear. A quick look around Google shows that what does it mean to dress for success is one of the top questions. Is the company you’re interviewing with a suit and tie kind of office? Will you look out of place wearing a dress suit? Is it ok to leave the blazer at home on a warmer day?
But what happens once you get into your job and you get a little more comfortable. In some offices, you’ll realize that it’s ok to wear jeans on Fridays… and then you might “accidentally” wear them on a day that isn’t Friday… and then you realize that no one says anything if you wear them repeatedly throughout the week as long as you don’t have meetings with big clients.
Even if you’re in an office where you can wear jeans every day and it would be weird not to, you might find yourself settling in and wearing a sweatshirt one day when you know you have some button downs just taking up space in your closet.
While dressing casual is comfortable, it’s a scientific fact that dressing for success can be a big confidence boost (a 2012 study that showed that subjects who donned doctors’ lab coats scored higher on attention-related tasks than those who didn’t), it can be so hard when the snow seems to never stop. They always say that you should dress for success, though, so we’ve come up with four tips to beat the blahs and refresh your wardrobe for warmer weather.
Match your style to your boss (or better yet, your boss' boss)
While it may be perfectly acceptable to dress down in your office (and even encouraged on some days!), it’s always a good idea to make mental notes of what your boss is wearing and what the people he or she interacts with regularly are wearing on a regular basis. If you’re looking to move up in your company mirroring their level of professional dress will only reflect well on you as they try to imagine you taking on more advanced roles in the office.
Go to the mall or your favorite store
Online shopping is easy and convenient, but it’s not always the best place to update your wardrobe. It’s hard to understand just how a certain outfit can come together when you buy separate pieces from a bunch of different web pages. Plus, going to a physical store can clue you in on sales that you didn’t know were happening or other items that you didn’t know you were looking for that can help complete an outfit.
Prioritize wardrobe staples
A well-fitting suit or suit separates can seem like an investment, but when you amortize the number of times you’ll wear it or how good you’ll feel wearing something that just fits it’ll be worth it. Spend money on staples that can stay in your closet for years and you’ll only have to update the swapable items occasionally to get new colors or patterns into your wardrobe.
Take stock of what items you need and what size you are in order to be able to take advantage of the best sales. Stores normally have sales around the change of seasons where you can get clothes for the next year at deep discounts, but they also offer deals throughout the year that can help you get some pieces for less. Sites like retailmenot.com and the Honey plug-in on Chrome can also help you find coupon codes if you do end up shopping online.
And, if perhaps, you find that you’ve either over-shopped or don’t have a use for some clothing that you already own, consider donating it to a non-profit that helps outfit those who have job interviews or are in need with professional clothing.