‘imaginary cosmopolitan’

Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard is our kind of guy – obsessed with self reflection, tech, and diversity.  In all his musings on and usings of technology, Zuckerman wondered how much we were deluding ourselves about the diversity of information we consume on-line. So he ferreted out a bunch of web-based tools and apps to study his cyberself. Was he an ‘imaginary cosmopolitan’, believing that he was the shrewd consumer of news from around the world? Or was he somehow an online colonialist? Entrenched in the mainstream, dominant patterns of use?

He tried RescueTime . . . are you brave enough to look at the cold hard stats of your online minutes? Eyebrowse does much the same as a Firefox plugin.  Then there’s mail-trends (a Google product), which is like analytics for your e-mail. Then the brave soul went on to study the geographic distribution of those he follows on Twitter with TweetStats, and on and on . . .

You’ve really gotta read the whole article.  It’s awesome stuff.

Have you ever done some serious quantifying of the on-line self?  Change your habits if you think someone is watching? What cyberpaths are well worn in your browsing history? What websites do you spend the bulk of your time on? How do you surf?

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One thought on “‘imaginary cosmopolitan’

  1. in the same vein, I recall some research that said people tend to read material that reinforces their own beliefs and political stances. And when they do read material written from other viewpoints, they tend to dismiss them. I’m thinking it’s the same for online.

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