Another article in the newspaper this weekend on how algorithms, increasingly sophisticated, more and more determine what we see, listen to, like, buy and think. A good read though. If only for awareness purposes. I know how this works and I guess most people do, but it never hurts to be reminded of the bigger implications. Of how the internet is creating a mono culture with their algorithms and recommendations, their ads and filters, giving you what you like, or what your friends like, which means giving you more of the same thing. Safe choices, easily digested, instead of surprises, exploration and serendipity. It only confirms what you already know and like. The idea of the long tale may still be true, but the niches are small. We basically all like the same things, start making the same things and because of that a sort of global design is emerging that makes everything look the same.
I don’t click recommendations on amazon or spotify. I don’t feel the urge to spread my political views on facebook, nor do I have to because I would only be preaching to the choir. But it works on so many levels. I’m on instagram now, since a month or so. At first, I started following people that I lost track of on other platforms, because I left (tumblr, twitter) or they did (flickr, mostly). Then I looked at who they follow and what they like. And hey, that’s nice, I like that too. *click follow*. And before you know it, you’re in a bubble. A bubble of a certain type of photography. Of foggy landscapes, nordic landscapes, empty landscapes, washed out coloured landscapes, boring landscapes. And I’m not gonna deny that I like that sort of thing, but I also know that there is a another world of photography to discover. The thing is: instagram (or any other social platform) is not going to show it to me. It takes an effort to find it. If we don’t make that effort, if we do not keep searching ourselves for things that we like, or might like, or might learn to like, or not like at all, we’ll be trapped in that bubble, the ‘smaakfuik’. And I find that scary, to be honest.
Rotterdam, early morning view from my balcony, on Instagram.