Horse blinders

The other day I read something (I can’t remember where) that made me think. With all of the sources for information out there, it is becoming increasingly easy (and common) for people to target the specific information that they want to receive and to only pay attention to that topic (or set of topics). For example, people are starting to get more of their information from the internet, blogs and podcasts as opposed to “mainstream” news sources such as TV, radio and newspapers.

What does this mean? Well, for one, it means that if you are interested in a topic, then you can target that topic and receive an enormous amount of information on that topic delivered right to you as it becomes available. This is pretty darned cool and I have to admit that I’m one of those people who subscribes to podcasts and RSS feeds of sites that I find interesting.

But there is also a down-side to this. By focusing on a specific topic (or small set of topics), you may be limiting the breadth of ideas that you are exposed to.

Newspapers, radio and TV all tend to be very broad in the topics and stories that they cover. This makes sense because they have a wide audience that they need to please. If you look past the headline news and into the heart of the newspaper/news show, you’ll be presented with wide ranging stories and topics that you might not have searched for while browsing the internet, but find interesting nonetheless. These hidden gems may offer some insight into a new idea, or give you inspiration to try something new.

Surprisingly, with all of the information that is available to us today, it is easier now than ever to put your horse blinders on and only see one topic in front of you — one point of view. I realized that to some extent that this was happening to me and after becoming aware of it, I was a little bit shocked. What I thought of as a great tool for targeting the information that I am interested in was in fact limiting the information that I was receiving.

It’s worth being aware of this because I can only see this trend becoming more and more common. Beware of what you are searching for, because you might find it — and in turn be limiting what you are seeing.

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