It’s been quite long ago that I’ve seen this interesting TED talk by Eli Pariser discussing how filters applied today by social networking and generally major information gateway sites lead us to live in our own small information bubbles. It turns out that every now and then, when going through my Twitter or Facebook timeline this talk comes to mind. How small is my information bubble? What does it include? Who else is sharing similar interests out there and lives on his/her own small information bubble?
Well speaking of content, my own bubble certainly contains a lot of information on accessibility, people with disabilities, elderly and all kinds of technologies that provide solutions to them. I found out that from time to time when I post something related to accessibility in my timeline it gets attention from all kind of people. People that do not relate to the accessibility domain whatsoever show interest on that stuff. This makes me think that I might be their only link in their information bubble to that kind of information. Their only source for this kind of information. However, when a new person gets interested and consumes some accessibility related content he does get infected with a very interesting virus. The virus of awareness.
If there is one major problem in the accessibility domain we are battling over the ages is awareness. Many web developers, product designers, companies, industries, researchers (and the list goes on) do not have a clue about how accessibility can relate to, affect and benefit their work. These small awareness infection “vaccines” might lead them to search, read, and get further information and after all get educated on accessibility related aspects. But this happens only if they have me or another accessibility related and enthusiast in their small information bubble! So, as the TED talk sums it up, I am wondering. Is it possible for social networks and similar information gateways to sacrifice some of the personalization against increasing awareness on accessibility. And by looking at the bigger picture could these information gatekeeper companies sacrifice some of the personalization to leave a door open to educating us by raising our awareness on a number of issues?
Same way as some of my friends are not aware on accessibility issues I might not be aware and educated in other issues. However, I constantly seek for improvement. Awareness, knowledge and education are critical on that direction. So… Facebook, Google, Amazon, Apple and all the other giants out there could you infect us with more awareness please?
PS. Although I am posting this on April fools’ day it’s not a prank.