I came across that interesting article on “Egocasting”.
Christine Rosen explains how we went from broadcasting (initial TV chanels) to narrowcasting (specialized channel MTV, ESPN, etc..) to egocasting (TiVo, iPod, etc..). She explains the control that the new technologies have given us over the content that we consume and the danger of it.

“the Walkman, the Video Cassette Recorder, Digital Video Recorders such as TiVo, and portable music devices like the iPod—have created a world where the individual’s control over the content, style, and timing of what he consumes is nearly absolute. Retailers and purveyors of entertainment increasingly know our buying history and the vagaries of our unique tastes. As consumers, we expect our television, our music, our movies, and our books “on demand.” We have created and embraced technologies that enable us to make a fetish of our preferences”

“they contribute to what might be called “egocasting,” the thoroughly personalized and extremely narrow pursuit of one’s personal taste.”

“We can consciously avoid ideas, sounds, and images that we don’t agree with or don’t enjoy. As sociologists Walker and Bellamy have noted, “media audiences are seen as frequently selecting material that confirms their beliefs, values, and attitudes, while rejecting media content that conflicts with these cognitions.””

“TiVo, iPod, and other technologies of personalization are conditioning us to be the kind of consumers who are, as Joseph Wood Krutch warned long ago, “incapable of anything except habit and prejudice,” with our needs always preemptively satisfied.”

Sunstein argues that our technologies—especially the Internet—are encouraging group polarization: “As the customization of our communications universe increases, society is in danger of fragmenting, shared communities in danger of dissolving.” Borrowing the idea of “the daily me” from M.I.T. technologist Nicholas Negroponte, Sunstein describes a world where “you need not come across topics and views that you have not sought out. Without any difficulty, you are able to see exactly what you want to see, no more and no less.”

Calling man “the animal which can prefer,” Krutch did not worry about mankind becoming more like machines. He saw a different danger: man might become slavishly devoted to his machines, enchanted by the degree of control they offered him once he had trained them to divine his preferences. “It often happens that men’s fate overtakes them in the one way they had not sufficiently feared,” he wrote, “and it may be that if we are to be destroyed by the machine it will not be in quite the manner we have been fearfully envisaging.”

In addition to what Rosen says I think the Internet as the potential to push “egocasting” even further.

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