RSS – Is Your Content Purified to the Point of Sterility?

In a piece on the myth of ‘Internet Neutrality’ The Guardian quoted Professors Marshall Van Alstyne and Erik Brynjolfsoson, who, way back in 1997, wrote that,

"With the customised access and search capabilities, individuals can arrange to read only news and analysis that align with their preferences. Individuals empowered to screen out material that does not conform to their existing preferences may form virtual cliques, insulate themselves from opposing points of view, and reinforce their biases."

From their paper "Global Village or CyberBalkans: Modeling and Measuring the Integration of Electronic Communities"

This made me ponder: is my RSS selection doing anything to really challenge my preferences? Or, as Jung might put it, is my content ‘purified to the point of sterility?’

Join me in a challenge: add a feed that you disagree with, that prods you, that is uncomfortable. And read it.

Here’s mine: Richard Dawkins’ Official site.

Any others?


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4 responses to “RSS – Is Your Content Purified to the Point of Sterility?”

  1. well this – as it happens – is the very reason I visit your blog… chuckle.

  2. Lol. That’s great!

  3. funny, my wife and i were talking about this exact thing the other night. sure, it’s healthy to be open to other points of view. it’s healthy as well to remain focused on the particular path(s) to which we’re called. there’s a sense of balance that happens, and each finds their own way.
    that said, i think a lot of my reading is, by nature, challenging – not something i always agree with – something i must often wrestle with. your book, kester, is a good example. lots of great stuff that i resonate with, and a few things i don’t – or would offer a different perspective/weight on certain themes.
    alas many of my feeds are chosen because i’m often challenged by their thoughts, and the diverse conversation that follows (examples: jesus creed, naked pastor, open source theology, etc..). if i had to pick something totally contrary to my own views, it would probably fall into the realm of politics. perhaps this

  4. I have recently been reading Newsweek’s “On Faith” Column at They have a smattering of writers from Chuck Colson to Susan Jacoby (she is feisty).