Tracking a media diet

 

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

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Boko Haram divides US security experts, lawmakers

As gunfire and bomb explosions continue to ravage parts of Nigeria’s north including this morning’s six huge explosions reported in a Kano suburb, the debate in the United States is whether or not the world’s only super-power should consider Boko Haram a terrorist group.
Even as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the 25 year old Nigerian, who was last week handed a life sentence for attempting to blow up a US airline on Christmas Day in 2009 in a suicide mission for al-Qaeda, contends the ruling in court, the submission of some security analysts whom this reporter monitored in a youtube debate this morning, is that the Boko Haram situation in remains a domestic problem with no potential threat to the United States.
The U.S. State Department currently designates 49 extremist groups as foreign terrorist organizations. Al-Shabaab, the Somalian extremist group, is the only sub-Saharan African group on the list. The US Congress House Committee on Homeland Security last November debated a motion to include Boko Haram on the list of foreign terrorist organisations, but some security experts kicked against it.
Jean Herskovits, a New York-based history professor, who is one of those opposed to the move, opined in a New York Times oped article last month that such an action will make Nigeria’s muslim north see the US as biased against it.
“The United States should not allow itself to be drawn into this quicksand by focusing on Boko Haram alone. Washington is already seen by many northern Muslims — including a large number of longtime admirers of America — as biased toward a Christian president from the south,” she noted.
“The United States must work to avoid a self-fulfilling prophecy that makes us into their enemy. Placing Boko Haram on the foreign terrorist list would cement such views and make more Nigerians fear and distrust America,” she added.
In her testimony before the Congress Committee on Homeland Security in November, Jessica Cooke, the Africa Program Director at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a Washington-based think tank, expressed similar views stating that “Boko Haram poses little immediate threat to the U.S. homeland, although U.S. citizens and assets in Nigeria may well be vulnerable as the group seeks high-profile, high-impact targets.”
The more imminent threat, she says the potential of the group destabilizing Nigeria, “an important energy supplier, security partner, and regional and continental powerhouse and one of the United States’ most strategically important allies in Africa.”
Howard Jeter, a former US ambassador to Nigeria, however, holds an opposing view. He believes Boko Haram deserves to be on America’s list of terrorist organisations. “It is really a terrorist group. And Peter said let us not designate it [as such]. I would like to hear your explanation as to why. It is a terrorist group. If you kill 28 innocent people worshipping in a church, it is a terrorist group,” he said.
John Campbell, another former US ambassador to Nigeria whose views on the matter is not well defined, however, believes the US should take seriously the threat posed to Nigeria’s continued existence by the militant group. According to him, the right policy response to the situation in Nigeria is critical to the US’s abiding goal of promoting democracy and sustainable development in Africa.
It remains to be seen whether Boko Haram would eventually make the terrorist list. So far, there is no consensus as the Congress security committee continues its consultations on the issue.

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Occupy Harvard at Lamont Library

This week’s assignment requested us to report on a story within a 4-hour interval. I chose to report on Occupy Harvard at Lamont Library. The method I used was to create a timeline of articles that reported on the event. For each article, a short description is available. The articles I used were taken from the Google search and Google News search of the event. I attempted to include most articles that I found and I managed to include most of them. It took me 3 hours and 15 minutes to put the information together, but most of the technical work of setting up the timeline was done before that.

You can see the final outcome below. The timeline below shows the articles that covered the Occupy Library events at Harvard. They appear in the chronological order in which they were published. Clicking on the image or the title will show you more details about the article itself. Scroll left and right to see more articles.

Occupy Harvard at Lamont Library Timeline
[iframe http://bit.ly/wPAcva 700 700]

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Lawrence Lessig Needs Your Help Awakening a Sleeping Giant

Lawrence Lessig sees the American people, enthroned as sovereign of the nation by the United States Constitution, as a sleeping giant. It’s OK to sleep; in general, we’d all rather focus on things other than politics. But there are times when our political system is so broken, we must awaken and flex the powers granted to us by our Constitution. Lessig argues that now is one of those times.

Republic, Lost

The first event in the spring Media Lab Conversations Series featured a conversation between Media Lab Director Joi Ito and lawyer, professor, author, and reformer Lawrence Lessig. Joi and Larry met in Japan in 2002, and their paths crossed a number of times over the following years as each took on campaigns for creative culture and against state corruption.

Lessig most recently shifted to focus entirely on fighting corruption, despite his fame in intellectual property. He begins his talk with an apology for distracting us from our research. In an ideal world, he says, it’d be absurd for us to sit and listen to him. What’s happening here at the Media Lab is some of the most inspiring, creative work there is, and it’s absurd we should have to take time away from these pursuits to listen to a talk about politics.

But he’s here to recruit us, to distract us from our machines for a moment, because it’s critical that people like us pay attention and contribute to the solution of an extraordinary problem. Every 100 years or so, society finds itself at a point where even the geniuses are forced to confront the messy world of politics. In Europe, the physicists working on atomic power and other wonders had to stop their work and confront fascism. Lessig says we’re at a similar place now, where the scientists must look up from our pure research and take action.

Rootstrikers
Lessig leads with this Thoreau quote that inspired the name of his Rootstrikers campaign:
There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.

Even further back in time, Benjamin Franklin wrote a clause outlawing gifts to officials, with fear of a potential dependency between the officials and the gift-givers.

Yet in July of last year, Rasmussen reported that 46% of Americans believe Congress is corrupt. The institution isn’t filled with Rod Blagojeviches. It’s filled with people who came to Washington for a public purpose. Nixon said he wasn’t a crook, and so does Congress.

The framers of the Constitution gave us a republic, by which they meant a representative democracy, with a branch of government dependent upon the people alone. The model described in the Constitution places the people as the marionette, pulling the strings of Congress.

And yet it’s the campaign funders pulling the strings. Members of Congress spend between 30-70% of their time raising money to get back into Congress, or to get their party back in power. They develop a sixth sense, as any of us would, of what will raise money, not on important issues 1 through 10, but on issues 11 through 1,000, where a questionable position will draw less attention.

The Funders are Not the People
0.26% of Americans donate to political campaigns
0.05% max out their FEC limit
0.0000063% of Americans gave 80% of the SuperPAC money so far in this election.

This is corruption. It’s not the corruption of cash in brown paper bags, or of Rod Blagojevich selling access. It’s corruption of dependence, and a corruption of the framers’ intent that the Congress be dependent on the people.

Political scientists have trouble estimating the effect of money on policy, which people like former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith spin to suggest that there is no evidence of corruption. A lack of evidence does not suggest an absence of evidence, however.

Ask the public. Across party lines, Americans believe that money buys results in Congress (71-81%). ABC has recently found that 9% of Americans approve of Congress. More Americans supported the British Crown at the time of the American Revolution.

Rock the Vote has found that youth voting rates in 2010 were deflated by the expectation that a vote isn’t enough to make a difference in a corrupt system. The same reason is given by voters of all age groups. Regardless of the issue, from healthcare to global warming to financial reform, reform is essential. The system of government where the funders control Congress will systematically block change as long as it’s in place.

Lessig knows what rational creatures he’s speaking to at MIT. He beseeches us to realize that our current political system will block reason within the halls of Congress, no matter the issue. We are the 1% of people whose very occupation is the pursuit of reason, and we get to spend all day finding the right answer. When you recognize the privilege of living life in terms of doing what makes sense, and realize that our government never gets to ask that question, “What makes sense?”, you realize the responsibility you have to change the system.

Congress is fundamentally corrupt and they are responsible for that corruption.

So what do we do?

If the problem is systemic, and not just a matter of some corrupt people, then the solution is to give Congress a way to fund their campaigns without Faust. They need a way to behave that doesn’t involve selling the country’s future each financial quarter.

Citizen Funded Campaigns
Should citizens fund our campaigns? Or should foreign nationals and corporations fund our campaigns? The Constitution is pretty clear about how it feels about the latter arrangement.

As of now, a miniscule percentage of Americans privately funds our campaigns. While the framers of our Constitution worked extremely hard to make all voters equal on Election Day, our current system allows the tiniest slice of the wealthiest among us to gain the most influence.

One alternative is government-funded elections, where the government dispenses funds. But people complain that their money is used to subsidize speech they don’t believe in. And, like other government funding systems, it becomes bloated.

Lessig proposes a mix between private and government funding. It’s a mix we see in some states, where small donations are amplified by public matching funds. Arizona, Maine, and Connecticut have such systems in place.

In 2010, the House came close to passing the Fair Elections Now Act. Lessig proposes what he calls the Grant & Franklin plan. It’s based on the fact that each of us contributes at least $50 (the bill featuring Ulysses S. Grant) to the federal treasury. If we rebated that $50 in form of a democracy voucher, candidates could run entirely on these funds. We could match democracy vouchers with another $50 (making it $100, featuring Benjamin Franklin).

This would amount to a campaign funding system funded with $7 billion, multiple times the $1.8 billion spent in private donations in 2010. Such a plan would remove a source of incessant cynicism.

Would that be enough, given the SuperPACs out there?
No. We’ve entered the age of the SuperPAC, with the Tony Soprano model of influence. Evan Bayh, retired Senator from Indiana, described the impact of the Citizens United case:

Every incumbent is now terrified that, 30 days before their election, some Super PAC will come in and drop millions of dollars in advertising against them.

Candidates feel that they need some form of Super PAC insurance, so that when a (money) bomb is dropped on one side, another (money) bomb gets dropped to neutralize it. You get insurance by paying premiums in advance. Super PACs have succeeded in aligning votes with mere promises of insurance – they actually call members of Congress with scripts saying things like “We need you to support us 80% of the time for us to support you.”

A plan like Lessig’s wouldn’t ban independent political expenditures, but it would limit them within 90 days of an election. If we had these two features, it’d make trust in our institutions possible again.

But is all of this possible? It’s easy to see a problem, and not so difficult to see a solution, but can be quite difficult to enact a solution.

Congressman Jim Cooper, of Tennessee, described Capitol Hill as “a farm league for K Street.” Many in Congress are focused on their lives after government, as lobbyists. Fifty percent of the Senate and forty-two percent of the House left to become lobbyists and cash in on their contacts and experience.

Insiders vs. Outsiders
One Way Forward, by Lawrence LessigLessig just published One Way Forward to chart the course ahead. He sees the primary divide in American politics not between left and right, but between inside and outside. Outsiders have become so disgusted with how things are, they’ve put aside their lives for a moment to try and find an answer. The year 1998 saw Americans rally behind MoveOn.org. In 2009, the Tea Party took the spotlight, followed by Occupy in 2011.

These waves are building over time. The challenge, Lessig argues, is for these waves to have some awareness of their combined potential, of their latent power. Right now, they’re extremely passionate, but also polarized. We should look at each of these waves and see the cross-partisan potential they have to move and act together, even if right now there’s very low recognition of that potential. That’s what we need to change.

This giant — the people — is sleeping most of the time. It must be awakened. Think of the Allied Forces against Naziism. We must stand on common ground, not because we have a common end, but to recognize the common enemy of corruption.

Lessig doesn’t try to predict the complete arch of this movement. But we do need to engage more ordinary citizens in the practice of teaching. Rootstrikers.org is recruiting citizens who will teach fellow citizens about the connection between the things they care about and the root of it, corruption. If Thoreau’s math found that there are 1,000 striking at the branches for every 1 hitting the root, we’ll need 311,000 teachers for all 3.11 million Americans. That’s their goal.

There’s corruption happening around the world, and around the world, people are rising up in fury against it. Starting this week, Lessig’s asking people to pledge to end corruption, and to specify how they’ll do so. The branding resembles the various Creative Commons licenses.

We Are All Enablers
Exxon Valdez Captain Joseph HazelwoodLessig plays the audio from the Exxon Valdez’s return transmission alerting the dispatcher of the collision and ensuing oil leak. It’s clear to everyone listening that the pilot is intoxicated. The captain escaped conviction, but there’s little doubt to observers that he was drunk.

There was no doubt, however, that he had a problem with alcohol. His own mother testified, and there are records of his license being revoked for DUIs. At the time he capsized a supertanker, he was not allowed to drive a VW Beetle on the highway. But consider everyone else around him: all the people who did nothing while a drunk was driving a supertanker. We are those people.

We have many problems today. And yet our institutions are distracted, too busy to focus. And so are we, too busy doing the real work that produces value and contributes to the world, too busy to focus on this critical problem and give it the serious attention it needs. So who’s to blame?

It’s too easy to point to the evil people. They have their share of responsibility. It’s the good people, the decent people, the most privileged, who have the obligation to fix this. Corruption is permitted by the passivity of the privileged.

A republic depends on the people alone. We have lost our republic, and it’s time for all of us to act to get it back.

Q&A
Joi points out that the Media Lab is focused on future impact, but also on building stuff that will be immediately useful, as with the Center for Civic Media. With Creative Commons licenses, Lessig built a technical solution that scaled one solution to the widespread problem of traditional copyright’s chokehold. Yet with reform, Lessig’s been writing books and giving talks. What’s the scaleable solution?

“I discover a new limit almost every single day,” Lessig admits. He sees his role as seeding ideas and infecting communities to leverage their own recognition to solve the problem. We can’t choose not to engage in the political system. There are hugely important problems, that, unless the government engages in a serious way, are going to screw us. He admits that it’s enormously frustrating to be researching at the coolest place in the world and be told you need to divert your attention to get America to fix its government…but it’s what we need to do.

Ian Condry asks how we can better model participatory democracy.
Lessig sees a realistic democracy as one where things basically function, and citizens can sleep most of the time, and pay attention when things break down. Things have broken down. It’s completely rational to be ignorant about government right now, because it gives you frustration, and you’d rather spend time with your kids. If we can change the system to give us some faith that democracy is functioning, more people would participate.

People look back to our founding and say, “They were all basically the same white guy.” But we forget: they were radically different people. There were people in that room who believed in slavery, and people who believed that slavery was the moral abomination of the age. They were able to bracket that debate long enough to produce a constitution. We don’t have to draft a constitution — we just have to tweak it a small bit.

How do you actually get the Constitution amended in this environment?
The Constitution provides two paths: Congress proposes an Amendment (every existing Amendment has been ratified this way). Or, if it turns out that Congress itself is the problem, the Constitution allows for a constitutional convention to be held by the states. This almost occurred when Americans were organizing to force elections for Senate seats, but Congress stopped the convention movement by caving to the demands for an elected Senate. Lessig’s OK with organizing a convention movement to the point that Congress must give into the pressure to diffuse it.

Asked about the likelihood of achieving such reform, Lessig asks us to imagine a doctor has just told you that your son has terminal brain cancer. Would you do nothing? Or, would you fight like hell, despite the odds, to do everything possible? When you love something, you fight regardless of rationality. Patriotism is a useful motivator here. We need to find a way to motivate people to act, even assuming it’s impossible, because we have no choice. We can’t being to address the problems we need to address unless we do. You’re only a citizen? That’s all we need. Only a citizen.

What’s the role for the coders of America?
They can enable an infrastructure to rally and organize people effectively to surpass the power on the other side. This is a problem we can only fix in this period of technological transition. The 20th century model of informing and directing people is currently broken, and we can take advantage of this fact. If you’re Tim Wu, you think the current system will soon be co-opted by the powers that be. But even if he’s correct, we have five years before that mold is set. We need more and better tools to topple corruption. So yeah, we need code, the right kind of code, code that thinks about waking the giant up and helping the giant recognize that it has a left and a right hand, and has to learn how to walk, and has to act in a rational way, not just crazy, as waking giants frequently act when they first wake up [think French Revolution].

With regards to visualizing networks and data, Lessig recommends Super Crunchers.

Asked about transparency, Lessig critiques “naked transparency,” where people believe that transparency alone will lead to change. Of course we want to see the bad stuff that’s happening, but we also want to stop the bad stuff from happening. If you only achieve the former, you actually dissuade more people from having anything to do with politics.

Christopher Fry argues, “You need people in the government who are well motivated, and you need a good process for them to follow. If you don’t have both, you won’t succeed. We have neither in DC right now.”

Lessig responds that there isn’t just one problem to fix. There are forty. We’re filtering for a special kind of person when we consider the amount of work required to fundraise at the amounts they’re fundraising at. Is that the sort of person you want at the lever? But when you’re dealing with an alcoholic, you need to solve the alcoholism first. Pick your issue. We will not solve it under this system. Global warming. Healthcare. Broadband. Reagan passed the biggest reform of US tax code through Congress by striking a deal with Tip O’Neill and the Democrats in an environment that’s entirely unfathomable today.

Sign up to volunteer here.

Matt Stempeck is a Research Assistant at the Center for Civic Media and former New Media Director of Americans for Campaign Reform, where he worked in a broad coalition with Rootstrikers.

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Lawrence Lessig Takes on Political Corruption

Lawrence Lessig

picture by Joi Ito

“Super” political action committees, or super PACs, have been changing the face of the 2012 election.  These PACs often raise more money than the candidates themselves, and are funded by wealthy repeat donors.  Restore Our Future, the super PAC associated with Mitt Romney, has raised over 30 million dollars for this election cycle.

It’s in this world that Lawrence Lessig came to the MIT Media Lab to address what he believes is the most important issue to address in America:  political corruption, and at its root, that of how political campaigns are funded.

Citing a Rasmussen study, Lessig argues that although 46% of the American public believes that most of Congress is corrupt, the problem is not actually that individual members of Congress are corrupt people who taking corrupt actions, but that the institution as a whole has deteriorated because of the way campaigns are financed — politicians spend between 30% and 70% of their time raising money for their campaigns.

In the age of the super PAC, Lessig points out that less than 200 individual Americans have given 80% of the money donated in an election cycle.  Forget the idea of the 1% — Lessig points out that our campaigns are financed by the .0000063%.

Lessig outlines a two part solution to campaign financing.  The first involves publicly financing elections, by taking a tax per citizen and giving it back in the form of democracy vouchers that can be used to support a choice of candidates.  These candidates must agree to take public financing and only accept donations of up to $100 per person.  Such a system would ultimately enable broad participation and also limit the amount any individual can contribute.

Unfortunately, Lessig claims, this would not be enough.  Politicians are motivated to use the super PAC model because of the fear that a rival using a super PAC will drop millions of dollars into negative ad campaigns very close to an election.  As such, politicians need to obtain what Lessig calls “super PAC insurance.”  Politicians try to obtain the favor of potential rich donors even before they might ever need to use their money, allowing the donors to obtain influence with actually giving away any money.  Eliminating this arms race would require a constitutional amendment.

So how can this come about?  Lessig’s solution comes down to uniting several effective, yet disparate movements such as the Tea Party and Occupy crowds to get such a constitutional amendment passed.  Ultimately he wants to unite the leaders of these movements behind a common cause — campaign finance reform.

Is it possible to unite movements of essentially mortal enemies to enact a constitutional amendment?  Lessig points out that even if the situation is hopeless, we need to appeal to patriotism and try.  He recognizes the use of big data as a tool, and urges the community of hackers and programmers to create an infrastructure that will enable more Americans to participate in democracy.  It remains to be seen if enough Americans are motivated to cause the ruckus required to change the constitution.  Even though only 11% of Americans have confidence in Congress, too many are used to sitting on the sidelines feeling powerless.

In today’s world, clicks and pageviews are hard currency.  In order to amass a movement, Lessig should appeal to those who are well-versed in writing headlines and stirring up sensation.  He realizes there is a balance between authenticity and sophistication, but it is unclear if his ideas will travel and have an effect beyond academic circles.

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In animals’ presidential election: lion takes on a gorilla

BOSTON – After a campaign with no debates, tweets, or televised attack ads, Americans voted this week in a presidential election with candidates including a condor, a gorilla and a panda.

Christopher the Lion had an early lead over Gigi the gorilla in the poll of visitors to the Franklin Park Zoo in south Boston, known as a PreZOOdential election, a zoo official said, leaking preliminary standings on condition of anonymity.

“I voted for Christopher, the lion” said Cookie, 9. She said that the lion impressed her and her friend. When they came up to the lion’s enclosure: “He roared. It was really exiting,” she said.

Some of the other animals in the six-animal poll – comprising a gorilla, a red panda, an ocelot, an anteater, an Andean condor as well as Christopher the lion — were doing less to get attention on Tuesday.

“I can’t see him,” one child said of Isidoro the ocelot – the cat was apparently asleep at the back of his cage. His campaign slogan, apparently anticipating his habit of sleeping during the day, says: “see if you can spot a winner.”

The voting began on President’s Day on Monday and runs until Saturday.

Maddie, aged 4, voted for Gigi, the western lowland gorilla, but she and her sister Lily were more impressed by animals not on the ballot.

“I liked the zebra,”she said. “I like black and white.” Lily smiled and said “crocodile” when asked which animal she favoured.

The incumbent president, Kiki, a female western lowland gorilla, has served two consecutive terms since 2006 and so is ineligible to run again and also has a baby to look after. Kiki sat by the glass wall of her enclosure, allowing children to come close to her baby.

“Of course they don’t know about the election,” said Gail O’Malley, overseeing the gorilla’s enclosure where this year’s candidate, Gigi, was sitting behind a tree trunk.
But she said that the election and posters help enliven the enclosures and made people go and learn more about animals they would not normally see, like condors or anteaters.

The solitary Andean condor, Tito, sat hunched on a branch on a tree in his outdoor enclosure, Jockamo the giant anteater, paced up and down his cage.
O’Malley also said that the election also drew more visitors to the zoo by adding an offbeat activity.

Several of the animals have been assigned campaign themes – Gigi the gorilla wants more “enrichment”, a term used for more objects to keep the animals from boredom. In the gorilla’s enclosure that means things such as balls, a puzzle for getting peanuts out of a plastic container with only small holes, new sounds and smells.

The red panda, called Stella Luna, is campaigning for early childhood education – she has two young. And the ocelot, whose natural habitat is a south American jungle but cage has just a couple of green plants, wants more conservation.

The winner, after votes are counted on Saturday, will get the honorary title of “president” and an inauguration party. That means perhaps a favourite treat will be handed over – lions like a chunk of meat, gorillas popcorn and peanuts, and anteaters a special insect dish.

O’Malley said that many children took the voting more seriously than adults did a real election. Young visitors often insisted, for instance, that they could not cast their vote until they’d been round to see all the candidates.

“In my family people simply go and vote for the guy with the Irish name,” she said.

 

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Video: Clay Johnson makes a case for conscious information consumption

Clay Johnson who co-founded Blue State Digital which is credited for U.S. President Barack Obama’s election campaign’s online success in 2008 speaks about his new book ” The Information Diet” in a Panel discussion at MIT Media Lab .

Four-hour challenge:
Start: 17:00 2/15/2012
Finished Editing & exporting media: 20:55 2/15/2012
I was unable to post the Video online within the 9 pm time frame. I managed to upload it by 9:20 pm.

Video Link:http://www.sparksforchange.com/?p=75

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Information Diet

I view myself as somewhat of an information glutton.

There is a constant explosion of information from various avenues (Social Media, Listservs, Emails, and Meetings etc.) on any given day. I have been mindful of the some of the associated consequences of our current way of life – from being unproductive to not being completely “present” at our real-world interactions.

So tracking my information consumption was a way to comprehend some of my interactions with information.

For the purpose of this week -long study; I have only included information that I really read or watched. I did not include the Bollywood movie that I watched over the weekend.

The four main categories that I tracked my “information Diet” under included news themes, type of media, sources and origins of information

My Information Diet

As you can see, there are a lot of things going on here; but below are some insights on my information consumption habits and engineering solutions to potentially address some of my particularly knotty habits / practices:

Filter Bubbles
This Ted talk on “filter bubbles” by online organizer Eli Pariser explains how algorithm driven personalized curation of online data can lead to an information junk diet. This pattern of information consumption only reinforces our narrow view of the world which can be harmful to the society at large. He argues that we need to encounter opinions that could challenge and expand our worldview.

A large part of my news consumption seems to revolve around my work projects and other interests. It would be interesting to have a plugin or app on my computer that can create some random variety in my information diet.

Media Bias Review Tool

Having worked in Media over the last few years , I think I have become innately suspicious about every piece of news and the inherent biases within it. If I really care about a particular piece of news, I will view it from various sources. I would love to have a browser plugin that can automatically bring up the same story from various sources along with a social / collaborative notepad to discuss subtle differences in coverage of the news and representation of facts across different news agencies.

ps: I am unable to upload media.So I have a link to Slide Share for my Information Diet presentation . I am getting the following error- ” Unable to create directory /var/www/partnews/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/02. Is its parent directory writable by the server?”

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