Sunday, 4 October 2015

Fortunate Happenstance

For all the Buzzfeed-esque headlines that claim 'You will be amazed...' I find that digitalisation has brought with it, in some ways, a lack of surprise. I have blogged about this before, here and here. Thinking about my behaviour as a shopper, I find the only area where I am frequently surprised and try new products and brands is in the supermarket, as I don't order anything in the way of food, drink, personal care or household products online.

It's been a long time since I have browsed in a bookshop, or - yikes - a record shop, and even with clothes, a lot of stuff is ordered online from retailers and brands I'm already familiar with.

The same goes for information and news, to some extent. Facebook is increasingly becoming an echo chamber where views and angles on stories are homogenous, exacerbated by an annoying recent development of inserting 'posts they think I may like' into my news feed. I presume this is the way Facebook want to cheat the ad blocker.

It goes back to the change in the way we use the internet. In the 90s, a few intrepid souls were surfing - adventurous, dangerous, even, and not for everyone. By the early 2000s, the pace had slowed down somewhat, from surfing to stumbling. The internet had become a giant, but rather jolly, obstacle course with people good-naturedly bumbling around and occasionally tripping up on something interesting.

These days we're fed. News feed. Titbits 'curated' by someone or something who thinks they know what we like - and certainly thinks they know best. I referenced a super article on this tendency here.

The Three Princes of Serendip were described by Horace Walpole as 'always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things that they were not in quest of.'

I'm not sure how much sagacity goes into my discovery of new food items in REWE, but surely there is more that can be done by brands to point people in the right direction to discover new products and innovations for themselves?

3 comments:

Barbara Fisher said...

Hi Sue,
Facebook is infuriating. I enjoy a browse now and again, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to find things I do like rather than things Facebook thinks I might/should like!

I actually miss browsing in shops, but by the time I drive to town, find a parking space, walk up and down the street trying to find the shop that was there but has now shut down (my fault because I shop online!) I’m ready to scuttle home and fire up the Internet. :-)

Sue Imgrund said...

Sometimes I wonder if charity shops, car boot sales, antiques fairs and so on have taken over from the high street shops in terms of satisfying our need to make happy discoveries.

Sue Imgrund said...

https://www.contagious.com/blogs/news-and-views/opinion-is-there-an-algorithm-for-serendipity

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