Thursday, October 25, 2007

Serendipity or "push vs. pull" technology : a little more on Thing #8

A drawback to relying on newsreaders and primarily using the World Wide Web to access newspapers is that it's easier to find only what you're looking, thus avoiding finding out things that don't necessarily agree with your search strategy. You have to use some limits when using newsreaders (what newsreaders you pick, for example) and that limits what information people are exposed to, which frequently means that they further limit their own experience and knowledge to that which makes them feel comfortble and keeps them within their own bubble.

In "The Complete Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" there is a plot point where Claudia is so determined that when she is looking through a newspaper to find out information about Angel, a sculpture at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she completely misses an small news story about her parents who are frantic about her diappearance. (Claudia had mailed them a note telling them not to worry, but clearly the note didn't work.) The narrator points out that this is a prime example of letting the goal of your search dictate your search strategy and control what you see, and the nature of your results can be compromised because of one's focus.

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