June 24, 2011

Staff Picks: Bursting the The Filter Bubble with Phil Gerbyshak

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 6:48 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

We exist under a mountain of books here at 800-CEO-READ, so we share them fairly regularly with our friends. And there's one friend in particular that always returns the favor—not by giving us more books (that would be somewhat cruel), but by giving us reviews of the books that we give him. And Phil Gerbyshak has come through again. Last Friday, I received a message from him with the following review of a great book on how personalized search is controlling what we see on the Internet—Eli Pariser's The Filter Bubble.

Hey! Your Google Search Isn't the Same as My Google Search

The Filter Bubble is a fascinating book that explains the secrets of social search and unlocks the real reason Google and Facebook are worth billions. Don't worry if the term "social search" is new to you. I didn't understand it very well either, but reading this book helped me get it much more. A quick and not too complicated explanation is that social search takes who you're connected to, plus all the things your computer has collected surfing the Internet, and creates a customized result whenever you search on Google, Facebook, and other Internet companies.

From Google's click signals to Facebook's customizing your news feed based on what you click most often, this book taught me a lot about search I didn't know. And if you're curious why your search results are different than your neighbor's (and how this filters your world), this is the book for you.

Thankfully there are ways to prevent the filter bubble from shaping your world too much. And there are also positive implications to personalized search, and The Filter Bubble is full of stories and explanations that will help you understand how your business could benefit and hopefully capitalize on social search.

This was a fascinating read, and one I recommend for anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the technology behind Google, Facebook and the other data collection companies out there.


Phil Gerbyshak is Marketing Technology Strategist for Turning Minds. He works with small businesses to increase employee & customer engagement (and profits) by teaching them to tell their stories more clearly inside and outside their organization, using the right tools to the right audience. It's really not about the tools; it's all about the conversations you participate in and the connections you create and cultivate.

Phil stopped by the office today and left three books happier, so hopefully we'll hear from him again soon. If you'd like to learn more about The Filter Bubble, check out Eli Pariser's talk at this year's TED Conference.