Filter builder

Building up our filtering capacity does not mean firming up our prejudice. But no matter what we do, we can only watch an average of 4 hours of TV and a few hours on the Web, mobile or stationary.

So we rely on thought leaders. Two-step information flow. Except this time, information flow through a social network i.e. multiple gate-keepers. We essentially recreate what early radio stations did when they strung together broadcast relay stations (to deliver a larger audience to advertisers) with their affiliates.

To be prejudice-free (reaching out only to friends and reading only their posts), I try to connect with a diverse pool, from left, center to right, black white and yellow, male female and gay and straight.

While we die alone, we don’t have to be isolated in our thought life.

In fact, we should recalibrate our filter, to let in more

data of different shapes and sizes. Ours is a post-Columbus Google era and each of us, our own press agent. Some even venture to suggest Social Media profile to replace credit history.

In 2010 the year in review, they posted a picture showing a naked Haitian woman who contracted cholera, lying and dying on the streets. No one stopped to cover her up (I hope the photographer would, after taking that picture that stirred our conscience).

And remember Nida, dying in front of our Twitter eyes during post Iranian election?

When I was in International Journalism class, we touched briefly on information flow, and how it had always been from North to South, from information-rich countries to information poor ones. Well, that was before YouTube and Twitter.

Now, anyone with a clip or tweet can share. New Dean of Columbia Journalism school, Steve Coll, will have to start a Twitter account to  stay relevant.

I have yet learned how to build a twitter filter. So what harm can it do me, reading unsolicit 140 characters. It would be an equivalence of hearing an elevator pitch from an aggressive salesman, whose odd of success is quite small (because he skips over the discovery phase). But some tweets stick and I learn something new every day. Technology is just a tool to deliver content.  Just don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Do you hear what I hear.


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