Burst your online bubble for better business

The internet has become one of humanity’s greatest resources. It has become more than just a way for people to connect, it’s now our communication lifeblood. Most people can’t imagine a world without the internet.

We are accessing the internet even when we don’t think we are. The mini-computers in our pockets are always connected, always updating and downloading. EAs are always on the go, and mobile devices now let us work on the fly, sending emails, keeping up to date on social media, even writing reports and drafting excel spreadsheets.

Mobile matters

Gone are the days of sitting down with a cuppa at your home computer, logging on to your favourite forum and having a scroll. 52 percent of worldwide internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. It seems like a fairly unsurprising statistic, all it takes is a trip home on the bus to realise how many, and how often people browse on their phones.

So we’ve established that we use phones more than computers to hop on the net. But what does this mean for business people? Going online on our phones doesn’t just mean that the hardware that we are using has changed, it also means that the software we are using is changing. Mobile phone browsing is vastly different than computer browsing. A five-inch touch screen requires bigger buttons, less clutter and streamlining in order to be an efficient reading device.

For this reason, most of us browse the internet through apps rather than a traditional web browser. By in large, the majority of apps we use on our phones are social media apps. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Instagram. Doing business through social media is now more prevalent than ever. Connecting with colleagues, clients and customers on social media is clearly the way forward.

How a bubble is built

Every time you search something into Google, or press the like button on Facebook, that action is recorded. Google and Facebook (among others), then use this information to tailor your feeds and future searches according
to your perceived interest. Your personalised bubble is the result of an algorithm that knows what you’re interested in and suggests new material.

Your internet bubble

A social media bubble is a new phenomenon. In the old days of the internet people gravitated towards forums that piqued their interest, or communities that shared their interest or profession. People formed communities organically, and they often fostered friendships and professional relationships.

Now social media feeds are tailor made by complex algorithms (see above). So the innocent scroll down a feed actually represents a problem that has been built for you, and partially by you.

Bursting your bubble

On the surface a tailored social media feed seems like a decent idea. No more scrolling through endless pages on Google to find the resource you need, and fewer irrelevant posts on your feed. The bubble presents a few very important problems however. Particularly on our social media, being fed information that only confirms our ideas and preconditions is dangerous.

Many commentators are concerned that the social media bubble prevents people from hearing both sides of an How a bubble is built Every time you search something into Google, or press the like button on Facebook, that action is recorded. Google and Facebook (among others), then use this information to tailor your feeds and future searches according to your perceived interest. Your personalised bubble is the result of an algorithm that knows what you’re interested in and suggests new material. argument and therefore not understand- ing or learning about people whom they disagree with. For example, many believe that these social media bubbles had a big role in dividing the US during Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in 2016.

So, the bubble is not great for personal use, but why is it bad for business? Well, we can infer that if the social media bubble prevents us from interacting with a full range of political ideas, then it is also preventing us from interacting with the full range of business opportunities on social media. If our feeds are filtered by our interests, then it is reasonable to assume that business opportunities can, and will continue to be lost.

When scrolling your feed next, ask yourself, am I being challenged? Is what I’m seeing conflicting with what I believe? Even, is there anything new or surprising here? If not, go out of your way to like pages that you don’t agree with, follow some controversial characters, and check out unconventional businesses. If you want to keep all your social media doors open, you’ve got to burst your bubble.

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