Mar 13, 2009

On the homogenizing effects of the Internet

Dear Internet,

In my day and age, we laud your diversity and accessibility. Through you, a wide variety of informa flow upward into a wide variety of interests. Human beings of all kinds seek out knowledge of human beings of all kinds.

Wahoo, say we. Wahoo.

That's the diversifying effect of the Internet. You make it easy to share information, so each have access to a wider variety of sources of information (each other).

Okay. I think I got that.

Got that?


So then comes the other way. The information we're seeking wants to be sought. That's why it's put out there. It is created to be infectious, and we are all infected. Yaaaay Memes.

And when the world disagrees with information, it used to be destroyed. Now we archive it, or argue against it, and we preserve it so that it has access to our audience. And meta information flows through.

Google, and its ilk, make millions on getting people to the information they're seeking. How? Because if it's accurate enough, information they aren't seeking can get in, too. Business information wants to reach you, and it will pay good money to do it. It will because it must.

But when you go to Google. or when I go to Google, rather. You basically ARE Google these days. When I go to Google, I usually don't know what question I'm really asking. I google with nouns, or maybe gerunds, or at best quotes. No Natural Language search engines for me, thank you very much.

So what I get is a page, not an answer. And the page may have the information I'm looking for, but it also has all kinds of other information. And that other information gets to me. And by getting to me, the information has a slightly greater chance to get to other people. This is to say, whatever information you give me, you give it to me because it successfully infected other people.

So you are exposing us to a greater variety of memetic infections, expanding LOCAL memetic diversity (each of us sees more) but creating greater total memetic homogeneity (less total is seen).

((Not the cereal. The quantifier.))

There are no fossils in the noosphere. Even the fossils must learn to survive.

So it is in all things.

No comments: