I approached the Media Diet in two ways. This post will discuss one of them, which is a tool called IdeaPrint.
In the current news environment, there are a small number of corporations and individuals that control the vast majority of media that is produced, and a vast number of smaller blogs and organizations that, in aggregate, provide balanced and far reaching reports of the news. Despite so many choices, many people still adhere to a small number of news sources that will inevitably result in biased views.
The first component of my media diet is a tool called IdeaPrint. The ultimate goal is a tool that can keep track of an individual’s “idea consumption” construct a unique “ideaprint”, similar to a fingerprint. The ideaprint includes information about the biases that influence your idea sources. For example, how much of your consumed ideas are owned by Rupert Murdoch? This information can be further used to suggest additional articles and commentary to provide a more balanced view on topics. Or can be used across your social circle to identify homogenous thought processes and enhance the variety of news content that you and your friends read.
The current tool is built as a Google Chrome extension that simply aggregates the number of visits to major websites (those that have wikipedia articles) and displays the top 9 as a bar chart. In contrast to tools such as RescueTime, the goal is to enhance the list of visited sites with information about the site owners, the amount of time spent reading an article and provide a simple API for custom analyses.
The current implementation is a very hacked up prototype. You can check out the source code at: https://github.com/sirrice/ideaprint