WNSF: Popping The Filter Bubble with Eli Pariser

Way back in 2010, Eli Pariser came up with the term filter bubble, the idea that people on the Internet tend to see only information that agrees with them, and then he published his book The Filter Bubble: What the Internet Is Hiding from You. Since that time, Facebook took off, viral marketing went nuts, fake news appeared, American politics polarized to the extreme, and now we’ve got a huge backlash to globalization and technology companies. Businesses increasingly are caught in between this polarization. If a brand takes a stand that pleases some stakeholders in one bubble, then it risks alienating other stakeholders in another one. The situation is getting untenable.

As filter bubbles become a more central problem in online discourse, Eli’s been on the hunt for potential solutions. At this What’s Now: New York, produced in collaboration with Capgemini’s Applied innovation Exchange, Eli shared what he’s learned about how to pop the filter bubble and begin to knit the internet, the economy, and America, back together again. He has some ideas, but far from all the answers, and he asked the audience to share their ideas about how to figure this out.

Few know as much as Eli about using the Internet to connect people and make things happen. Early in his career he became Executive Director of MoveOn.org which helped supercharge online activism and grew to an email list of more than 8 million members. After publishing his book, he co-founded Upworthy, which sought to promote positive and important information, and became exceptional at getting people to share posts on Facebook. Now Eli is President of Good Media Group, which includes Upworthy, and through Good is dealing with this new internet marketing and media landscape – something all businesses are struggling with.

Even if we can get rid of fake news, that won’t solve the filter bubble problem. We need new ways for people to get legitimate news and ideas and information from outside their bubbles. What will bring us together? What will open our minds? How do we all move ahead?