Here's the thing - Bolt | Peters was acquired by Facebook. This site will live on.

Is Personalization Always Dangerous?

Posted on May 21st, 2011 by Stephanie Carter
13 comments

Two days after recommending ‘personalization’ to a client’s site that wasn’t making use of user viewing history, I watched Eli Pariser’s TED talk about the filter bubble. He explains how personalization online—Google, Facebook, etc.— is dangerously limiting our world view.  I panicked, thinking I had subconsciously sipped the personalization potion. After all, much user interview analysis seemed to suggest that personalized suggestions—those that were taking into account viewing history—would enhance the already positive experience these users were having. For this client, I had assumed suggestions of relevant learning topics would be beneficial to their users. Am I wrong? I wonder, where do we draw the line between personalization that is harmless or helpful to our UX and that which skews our world view?

If I search Egypt, as Pariser reveals, I get a different result than you do, based on 57 signals that Google uses to personalize your search results. The biggest issue, he suggests, is that we don’t see what is being filtered out. It’s not as though certain results are ‘grayed out’ or off to the side. We just flat out see a selective list. Now, I want some information filtered the same for everyone – like the news, for example.  It is disturbing to think I could be viewing news online and only see travel stories while my neighbor sees stories about riots when we both search for ‘Egypt.’ But, is there information that is actually beneficial to personalize? If I go on Netflix, YouTube, Epicurious, Yelp or Amazon do I want to see the same results as my neighbors? What’s in my best interest? Or what’s in the collective best interest? Is there a metric that we can use that helps us figure out when personalization is harmless and when we should stay away?

13 Responses to “Is Personalization Always Dangerous?”

  1. Mike Vattuone
    May 30, 2011

    Why not offer the personalization, but allow a feature to remove any personalization?  I don’t think we’re ever going to find some happy compromise between accessible information and personalization, and some people will always remain unhappy.  The best measure is to allow for the user to easily control the amount of filtering they want done to their information. 


  2. video seo company
    Dec 01, 2016

    I always was concerned in this topic and still am, appreciate it for posting.


  3. Make money working from home, it’s easy!


  4. Make money working from home, it’s easy!


  5. video blog
    Dec 03, 2016

    Just desire to say your article is as astounding. The clearness in your post is simply spectacular and i can assume you’re an expert on this subject. Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to keep updated with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.


  6. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was wondering what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very web smart so I’m not 100 sure. Any recommendations or advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers


  7. Click here
    Dec 06, 2016

    You really make it seem so easy with your presentation however I in finding this matter to be actually one thing which I think I might by no means understand. It kind of feels too complicated and very extensive for me. I’m looking forward on your subsequent post, I?¦ll attempt to get the hang of it!


  8. An fascinating discussion is value comment. I think that you need to write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo topic but usually people are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers


  9. dallas seo experts
    Dec 07, 2016

    fantastic points altogether, you simply received a new reader. What might you suggest in regards to your post that you made some days ago? Any sure?


  10. eebest8 back
    Dec 08, 2016

    “I think this is a real great post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.”


  11. New program in prelaunch, set to begin paying DAILY on the 10th. Get in on the ground floor and be one of the first to start earning big. That means one week to build your team and make a huge payday on launch day! Double rotator guarantees success!


  12. Very good post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.


  13. look at this site
    Dec 20, 2016

    I just want to say I am just newbie to blogging and site-building and really savored this web-site. Probably I’m going to bookmark your site . You amazingly come with superb posts. Many thanks for sharing your webpage.