life in a filter bubble – no bueno…

I first recall learning about the concept of the filter bubble in the summer of 2011. My partner in library crimes and misdemeanors at the time, Anna Martino, were middle school librarians in Los Angeles at the time and were attendees to Lab School @ Punahou that summer. Our cohort’s focus was digital ethics and the amazing Doug Kiang talked about Eli Pariser’s filter bubble work one day.

When we returned to school the following fall Anna Martino and I built online privacy and the filter bubble awareness into our middle school library curriculum. We presented a session on our work at the California Association of Independent Schools Southern Regional Meeting in 2012.

While our work was always greeted with nice platitudes and an “Oh, that’s so interesting…” level of acknowledgment, it was always pretty clear that this was “important stuff for kids to know” but that nobody knew how these concepts and ideas fit into their work as science, history, math, whatever… teachers. Nobody was going to carve out time to develop this because they were already behind. “I should have been done with the crusades last Monday…”

I don’t know what discussion is like at other schools around the country, but I know that at the school I work at now, post-election discussions on media-literacy instruction are being taken extremely seriously.

The realization that the enormous volume of information coming our way via our computer, tablet, and phone screens did so little to inform us about the lives of virtually half of the rest of the country and that, in fact, the filter bubble effect seems to have made us LESS well informed about the lives of half of the country has given thinking people a real reason to pause and reflect on what the hell really matters when it comes to a 21st century education.

It’s weird to realize that something you’ve talked about and thought about for for so long has suddenly gone rather mainstream, but it has. In all honesty, I was SHOCKED by the election results. I KNEW that my Facebook news feed was a filter bubble, but I grossly underestimated just how thick the walls of that bubble were. The really hard part, though, is knowing what one can do about it. The nature of online life is that there is a huge amount of data that we give up about ourselves just by being online.

Don’t believe me? Head on over to and see what happens.


What can they do with that data?

Or Blue Feed, Red Feed from the Wall Street Journal…


Here’s to bursting the bubble!

Edited: Maybe there’s hope…


AS AMERICANS INCREASINGLY live their lives online, they risk encountering people they disagree with less than ever. Digital lives are circumscribed by algorithms and social media networks that create separate but homogenous red or blue realities. Filter bubbles are a problem technology didn’t create but certainly seems to exacerbate.

Now, technologists are trying to use software to burst those same bubbles…

Source: Do-Gooder Technologists Are Trying to Burst the Post-Election Filter Bubble | WIRED


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