Is Personalised Media a Good Thing?
One of the big changes of the last few years is tailored media – the ability to visit a website or use an app and have the data that is presented tailored to your interests. ReadWriteWeb discuss this after the comment from Facebook’s COO that “a website that isn’t tailored to a specific user’s interest will be an anachronism”. I would like to query that comment.
Having items tailored to my interests is undoubtedly useful. I tailor my Twitter stream to users that say or refer to things that interest me for example, my list of RSS feeds are lists that interest me, I do use tailored sites to show me news in areas of interest; however, I also read newspapers that cover a wide range of subjects and I free range across multiple other web sites, magazines, journals, books which are not necessarily directly related to my ‘interests’. These non-tailored resources are valuable to me because I would become highly insular if all I did was read things that were determined to be a match to my current interest – how would I discover new interests, new links between disparate items, have new ideas if all I did was look at items of current interest?
I believe strongly that a significant proportion of innovation comes from making connections from seemingly unconnected items. If you want to be innovative open your mind to as varied a source of information as you can, as well as diving deeply into something that takes your fancy for a moment even if it isn’t one of your long term interests. This has certainly helped me in the past, ever since at University a fleeting conversation with a PhD student on the emerging science of finite elements led me to a unique way to solve an aerodynamic pressure calculation that used the principles of finite elements, but had no direct relation to it.
So I do like having tailored news & information sources, but I also like to keep the filters wide open. It’s probably just the implication that “all” websites will be tailored that I object to – let’s be happy with diversity and reduce the propensity to overuse that simple word “all” when predicting the future.