Thursday, January 19, 2006

RSS and other silo builders

Last night I was helping out a prof with a class and towards the end, she mentioned something about EPIC 2014(transcript version for those who can't wait for the video) - a dystopian vision of the future where Google controls information and the New York Times is for the elderly and elite. I'm getting ready to watch it as I write this, but I want to speak to one thing before I finish the video. The prof mentioned that there would be ways that we only get the news that we "want" and it would be direct to our brains, then I thought nothing of it and checked my RSS feeds for the day. Then I got thinking - about what she was talking about... if we all only ever get "our" news via RSS - a medium that has been designed to reduce noise, are we not doing ourselves a disservice? If you look at it, much of what we learn is something that we identify as being different, and then based on previous experience we explore it. If we only ever get "pure" news... then how are we ever going to grow? This is the crux of EPIC (as I hit play between these paragraphs). It's warning us that we can only trust automation so far and that tailored for everyone individually means that in the end, "news" is tailored for no one. I'm thinking that for some people, we are already there. Surface level news and knowledge abounds, and there are few - yet still considerable in numbers - that use the tools like RSS to dig deeper and get more out of what news and content there is. What may be the lesson for us in classrooms? I'm thinking that we should make sure we watch and interact with content that makes us feel slightly uncomfortable, otherwise, it's a very easy path to a "custom informed" world. Technorati Tags: , ,