Perspectives that rise about the noise



One of the great achievements of humanity is to create a communication grid that connects almost all human minds through the internet.

Yet this incredible achievement also comes with a cost.

The media shared from mind to mind is often negative and sensationalist. We share information based on tribalistic groups. We choose to consume information that conforms to our preexisting worldviews. Fake news runs rampant throughout our communication grid.

This is particularly prevalent with Facebook, which shows you media in your newsfeed that you’re most likely to click on. Over time, your newsfeed is personalized to show you what’s being shared by the friends you have who share your current ways of thinking.

But I think this challenge is much broader. It mirrors how we naturally behave even when offline. We prefer to spend time with people who share our viewpoints. It requires less cognitive effort. We have improved relationships this way. It makes sense when you think about it.

I read this article in the The Atlantic yesterday:

It’s a good overview of the challenge we face.

I think it’s a huge priority to find a way to create and share media that transcends filter bubbles. The internet is bringing all of humanity together into this communication grid. We need to find a way for pluralism to become a strength.

This is the legacy I would like Ideapod to create. Providing a solution to this massive challenge.

Most technology solutions proposed to address filter bubbles focus on presenting different perspectives side by side. Cultural solutions try to encourage people to seek out difference.

I don’t think this is the right way forward. The reason is that people don’t want to bother putting cognitive effort into perspectives that don’t fit their preexisting views.

I think there’s a better way of addressing this challenge that hasn’t been done before (as far as I can see).

We’ve developed a different way to approach breaking through the filter bubble, and it’s something I’m looking forward to bringing to Ideapod.

Conceptually, it’s about surfacing perspectives that transcend tribalism, but with an important difference… I’ll share more on the solution in a later journal entry…

This is where Ideapod is headed. We’re here to provide a media ecosystem where these perspectives rise to the top and can be discussed by the community. The perspectives will come directly from contributions to Ideapod but also from further afield, with links being able to be shared directly here.

We’re going to utilize two kinds of intelligence to organize how media is surfaced and engaged with:

  1. Collective intelligence. That’s where Ideapod Discussions is so important. What you see here is very rudimentary, but the platform we have can be built upon and integrated with the main Ideapod site in powerful ways. We can surface content based on how it’s engaged with.

  2. Artificial intelligence. We can use some of the latest technology in trawling the internet, analyzing the semantic content of an article, basing it on keywords and engaging in social network analyzes to map out the tribes within which content moves.

I wanted to provide this brief “idea journal entry” to share these thoughts and keep the Ideapod community informed of where we’re headed. I know the notes above are quite abstract. For now, the call to action is quite simple:

Please share perspectives that “rise above the noise” and provide genuine insight on the human journey. You can share these perspectives in a number of ways:

  • Write an article for publication on Ideapod. Contribute here.
  • Share your own raw, unfinished thoughts by creating a topic in #ideajournal.
  • Reply to other topics here. Either reply to a topic in #discussions (these are connected to the articles published on Ideapod) or in #ideajournal (these are community contributions that aren’t published on the front part of the site).

I know we have a few moving pieces and it’s not all fully connected yet. But slowly, piece by piece, we’re bringing it all together.

I would love to know your thoughts by replying below and I look forward to sharing more.

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Fascinating. I look forward to hearing more on the solution. Just from a statistical point of view, I find myself wondering if it is even possible to curate a subset of the unreadably large amount of content available that does not in one way or another become some kind of filter bubble, even if the bubble boundaries are drawn differently than other bubbles. Another thought is that Ideapod hosts a certain kind of content that attracts a certain kind of reader. I’m sure you have thought about it deeply, but what would this bubble-bursting mean a shift to a more mainstream position and a dilution of the editorial values that make Ideapod what it is?


Thanks for taking the time to read this and share such a thoughtful response.

The first step absolutely will be to attract a certain kind of reader. We’ll start to evolve our editorial line to create more “perspectives that rise above the noise” while still continuing to build the audience as we have been doing.

The second step is to introduce some functionality where users can do two things:

  1. Share a story (they already can here:
  2. Share a link to an article elsewhere.

Both 1 and 2 will create discussion topics here in Ideapod Discussions.

The third step is where we’ll bring in some artificial intelligence and trawling technology to organize content according to some principles around “perspectives that rise above the noise”. We’ve got some insights on how to do this, but need to test them out. So we’ll keep focusing on what we’ve laid out above first and foremost and create a community of people discussing “perspectives that rise above the noise” - these perspectives being generated from Ideapod itself as well as from media networks outside Ideapod.