We all view the world differently and on our own terms. Each of us use different words to describe the same book, movie, favorite food, person, work of art, or news article. We express our uniqueness by reviewing, tagging, commenting, liking, and rating things online. Taken together, all of this data can be viewed as a reflection of ourselves.
But on Amazon, Facebook, Youtube, IMDb and Yelp our unique interpretations and descriptions of the world are trapped inside separate boxes. The things I love on one service don’t apply to the next app that I download. By isolating my unique contributions, these services make my personal data “small” instead of “big.”
Less data leads to lower quality user experience. There’s no consistency or continuity between different apps and environments. Every time I create a new profile or download a new app I feel like I’m starting all over again. At first I’m reduced to a stereotype who needs to sign in to see irrelevant content or meaningless ads. Fragmented data and inconsistent algorithms provide noise instead of signal.
My interfaces to information are not optimized for me.