We live in a world that is being increasingly sorted. Whenever I log into Facebook, the same posts from the same people just keep popping up to the top of my feeder, never mind that I already saw it on Friday morning…and Saturday afternoon…and night…and yesterday, and never mind that I didn't comment or like the post. If I scroll down, past four or five other things I've already seen half-a-dozen times, posts from other people are sprinkled in, even though they're newer than the stuff that keeps floating to the top. There may be a way to change this. I need to remember that Facebook has a tendency to change settings at a whim and without warning.
Facebook, I believe, is showing me what it thinks I want. These are mostly people with whom I've interacted a lot in the past, so I must want to see what they've got to say, right? Maybe it thinks I've forgotten to comment and like the post, so it's going to hit me with it over and over until I do, I don't know, but it's annoying.
It's this way all over the internet. Look at a book on Amazon and there's a menu that says, "People who bought this also bought…" On Netflix there's a category called, "Because you watched [insert film/show name here]". The cash register at the supermarket spits out coupons for products similar to the ones I bought (but rarely for the products I actually buy—my cats eat Friskies, not Nine Lives, and if I tried to feed them Nine Lives, they'd either snub it or throw it up all over the carpet).
From a marketer's perspective, this makes sense. I haven't read any studies but I expect targeted marketing has a much higher return on investment than the shotgun approach. As a consumer, we don't have to wade through so much stuff that's not of interest to us. Still, I can't help but wonder what we're losing with all this. The internet makes it so much easier to discover things so far out of our normal 'zone'—why allow ourselves to be limited?