Personalisation Content is becoming increasingly personalised. Using metadata management and user interface personalisation, information is becoming demand-oriented and intuitive. Consumers generate huge volumes of data, and cheaper and better ways of analysing data help companies improve their predictions of consumer behaviour and needs. This makes it possible to offer more personalised services that match consumer requirements and interests. However, some believe that this high level of personalisation also has a downside, as people enter unique information worlds that are so tailored to them that they are no longer exposed to anything uncomfortable, challenging, different or new. Eli Pariser calls this ‘filter bubbles’.52
A squirrel dying in front of your house might be more relevant to your interest right now than people dying in Africa. -Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook.
3.4 Increasing importance of networking and the community Supported and stimulated by modern communication technology, people are increasingly organising themselves in informal, horizontal, and sometimes global, structures around certain themes and interests. The result is new production and power relationships, in which the general public can influence policy through interest groups and other associations. Where society was previously structured around institutes, a shift can now be seen towards structures centred on the individual and the community outside these institutes – a shift that is sometimes referred to as ‘democracy from below’.53 In this new society, in which influence comes more from the community itself and is organised bottom up, personal connections, knowledge sharing and partnerships take on an increasingly important role. Sharing and cooperation is of course nothing new, but opportunities for renting, borrowing, exchanging and sharing products have increased as a result of technological developments. This phenomenon is also called ‘collaborative consumption’: obtaining ownership of and access to goods that you do not have through social networks.