More Informed Does Not Mean Better Informed

more but not better informed social media bias

I watched a recent webisode of Stocks and Scotch featuring Howard Lindzon, Felix Salmon and Henry Blodget discussing the current and future state of media.

One of Henry’s comments stuck out to me:

“We are better informed than ever”

I’m not sure I agree. We are more informed for sure, but better, is less clear.

Directionally, yes, in theory we have much greater access: information has been democratized. As recently as our parents’ generation, most Americans were limited to just a few news sources (the local newspaper and a few TV channels).

However, there are problems. First media sources like Twitter quickly become echo chambers. People follow others they agree with. Algorithms can contain biases (unintended or otherwise).

I also find myself falling into the trap of “going down rabbit holes” – I’ll consume endless amounts of information relevant to one specific niche rather than moving on to something else. Reading a newspaper at least forces you to move from one article to another; there is a defined end to a story. Also you trust an editor to choose which topics are newsworthy verses being subject to your own whims. I think today we tend to go deep, but not wide.

Yes, I still get a physical paper delivered, partially to save me from my living in my own tech-centered bubble: I’m much better informed on Twitter’s post IPO stock price and  companies raising funds on AngelList than I am on what’s happening in the Middle East (or US politics). Twenty years ago, the news sources may have been fewer, but in some ways, perhaps for the better.

I thought this first Stocks and Scotch episode was great.

Also I had no idea Google offered a service called Hangouts on Air . Free. It’s incredible!

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