Yeah, I haven't had a chance to check out all of them. There's interesting stuff going on. I'm looking forward to looking into Storify and there's an iPad App called Newsy that takes the same article and you get six different, pretty diverse news sources on it. In some ways it's a really fun, interesting, juicy, engineering problem to figure out – way more interesting than "How do you get people to click on stuff more?" So one theory of how this would happen is basically you have a startup that figures it out, and then gets acquired by Google or Facebook, and then gets baked in, or these companies just copy the functionality. Certainly that could happen, but in order for that to happen there has to be a sense that this is what people want. And that's part of the reason I wrote the book, to help create the demand for better personalization
So talk about that question of why you wrote this, because it has the feeling of a warning and a manifesto – and maybe at the very end a "How do I protect myself." Who is it for and what are you hoping to get out of it? What are you hoping different groups are going to do with the book?
What I tried to do was write something that was accessible for anyone who was using the Internet and wanted to understand how it was shaping the information they're getting. Something that wasn't super wonky and just tried to explain this big shift going on, where all these huge companies are spending all this money on this technology and trying to integrate it. I see the Internet as being at a pivotal moment. There's a pathway that leads toward it living up to some of the best hopes that we have for it. And there's a pathway that Tim Wu suggests in The Master Switch that says that this is just going to get consolidated like every medium that came before it, and then shut down. I think it's an open question how it turns out. And how it turns out depends on whether people see themselves as citizens of this space that is being built, and see themselves as helping to shape the space that's being built, rather than just being the passive consumers at the end of this thing. My biggest hope for this book is that it helps people get excited about that project because that's the project I'm excited about.
I think you may be on the early end of a wave of books that are going to be working on this concept of Internet citizens as Netizens. I'm helping Rebecca McKinnon on her forthcoming book [Consent of the Networked] which is on this notion what it means to defend these spaces as a space for free speech. And a lot of what she's talking about is, what do you ask the government to do? Is that something that you're thinking at all? Should we be seeing legislation around personalization? Either forcing it be more transparent or making it easier for people to opt out? Is there a legislative decision for this or is it really in the hands of the users and the corporations that are doing it?
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