An interesting book review from Times Higher Education: The Daily You. We’ve discussed this quite a lot – the power of ‘niche’, and the danger that if you only look at things that are recommended to you because they’re similar to something you already like, how do you encounter the new?
The media industry has unquestionably been transformed by advertisers’ ability to collect data at the individual level about internet users and use it to design more effective ad campaigns. Here, Joseph Turow claims that the way individual-level data has transformed this media-buying process has been hidden except to a few industry insiders. The Daily You offers a nice description of how online advertisers now track internet users across websites in order to offer ads that they hope will be relevant and thus effective.
Turow is at his strongest when he describes, in careful but still accessible language, what media firms are doing and the technical details behind how they collect data. I particularly enjoyed his description of the inadvertently harmful effects of personalising news content. The fear is that by over-personalising news, newspapers inadvertently create “data silos” where someone who has not yet shown an appetite for international news will never have the chance to be exposed to it. This is something that deeply concerns Turow, a professor of communications, and his passion shows.
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