Online “Filter Bubbles” and Wikipedia is Good for You?!

Eli Pariser’s TED.com talk  “Beware Online ‘Filter Bubbles'” shocked me. I had no idea that Google search results are personalized. I realized that Facebook personalized your news feed based on your friends whose updates you click on the most often, but a search engine? I don’t like that. This can block information to everyone. It’s almost as if they’re trying to control what we see based on our personalities. And apparently it doesn’t matter if you’re logged in or not; Google will still change your results. I wonder why they feel the need to change things like this and assert more control over what we see.

“Wikipedia is Good for You!?” is a Writing Spaces article by James Purdy. I appreciate that someone finally realized that students are going to use Wikipedia anyway, so he talks about the ways to use it in order to get the most from it. I don’t feel that I learned anything from it, but it was nice to see that someone other than a student shares my opinion on Wikipedia.

I don’t know if everyone’s high school teachers did this, but I was always taught repeatedly how to analyze sources to verify their credibility. Naturally if there are outrageous claims or possibly an ulterior motive, you throw it out the window. And with Wikipedia, there are often not any sources listed. There may be sources for different sentences in that certain article, but if the particular sentence you are reading is not cited, you’re out of luck as far as Wikipedia goes. However, whenever there is a citation and you can verify it, you have just discovered another source that you didn’t know about before. In this respect, Wikipedia can be very helpful when you’re researching for an assignment. As James Purdy puts it, Wikipedia is a good starting place. I would never try to cite Wikipedia itself, though.

I will admit that I am guilty of sometimes believing claims on Wikipedia that are not cited, but only when my grade doesn’t depend on it. Usually when this happens it’s about something I don’t care about that much, anyway.

Isn’t Wikipedia such a great thing? There’s so much information available in once place. Instead of using a search engine and having to browse endless websites to find out something, you can just type it in and Wikipedia has it all in one place for you. Its credibility needs improvement, but even so it’s a threat to printed or online encyclopedias that you have to pay for.

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~ by Writing Art Life on December 4, 2011.

2 Responses to “Online “Filter Bubbles” and Wikipedia is Good for You?!”

  1. makes me think about google taking over the world…givees me the heebeejeebies

  2. […] Online “Filter Bubbles” and Wikipedia is Good for You?! (writingartlife.wordpress.com) […]

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