sep 6

Brave New World of Digital Intimacy

Sorry to ruin your weekend, but you have another internet-related NYT Magazine story to read: Brave New World of Digital Intimacy. (It's Clive though, so it should be okay. But it can wait until you're back from shooting wolves from airplanes.)


I read this last night and it touched on a lot of points that I'd only become slight more self-aware of recently.

I can understand wanting to leave but also wanting to stay. I think the solution now isn't more of the same services we're seeing now, but instead better filtering.

We're aggregating so much, but have no real, smart way to say "just give me the good stuff." Facebook introduced some OK settings for the News Feed (found at the bottom of the Home page, you can set what types of "news" you want and also "more or less" of a certain people) but I don't think it goes far enough.

I would like to see some sort of service (presumably done as an algorithm, but maybe a form of predictive A.I.) that monitors my behavior and interests on the fly. Then, as I surf it blocks the noise in my browser and requests from these services more signal.

Yeah, I know, I'm asking for a lot.

posted by Kiyoshi Martinez at 2:31 PM on September 8, 2008

Does anyone else think that Facebook may already be doing this?

My reasoning: remember a few months back when some of their code went haywire and if you clicked in the blank search field, five names came up? These names were determined by some algorithm that determined the five people you'd most likely want to see. (Ironically, it often came up as being people, like exes, that you'd least want to see but that you'd spent enough time clicking on anyway to make the system think otherwise.) Facebook quickly pulled the search-box glitch thing.

But. But! I think the concept is still there. I see certain people showing up on my News Feed waaaaaaaaay more than others, and I don't think it's due to simple volume of activity.

posted by katiebakes at 2:54 PM on September 8, 2008

Ah! I remember that. I also remember that for a time the News Feed let you click either a green thumbs up or a red X to signify if you liked or disliked what was showing up. Most of the time I found myself clicking the red X, because I hated a lot of what was showing up and really was only interested in what people were sharing (links and such). But now that option no longer exists, which kind of bums me out.

posted by Kiyoshi Martinez at 8:44 PM on September 8, 2008

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