How Accurate Is Your Algorithm?

Most people these days have an active online life. In that life, much of the online content is delivered via algorithm. Is that algorithm any good?

Of course, different websites employ different algorithms. The basic idea is the same in each case, however: if you like this thing, you will also like this other thing.

These programs appear just about everywhere online. For example, when you watch a YouTube video, a YouTube algorithm suggests other videos that you may also want to watch.

Not only are these programs ubiquitous, they are crucial to any good website. In the above example, if the YouTube algorithm does not suggest videos you actually want to watch, then you may leave the platform altogether. So, from YouTube’s perspective, it is vitally important that the algorithm work as intended.

What may not be quite so obvious, however, is how important it is to you. There are so many videos available on YouTube that it is impossible to watch them all. In fact, without some way of singling out videos that have some interest to you, you would almost certainly become overwhelmed.

Of course, it is not just YouTube that employs an algorithm to deliver content. Social media sites do it as well. They may suggest other accounts you may want to follow, or posts you may want to see. Online stores use them to practice a modern-day version of an ages old technique of up-selling. Online advertisements, which use cookies to track your browsing habits, can be tailor made to get you to buy something.

In your experience, are these algorithms any good? Does Netflix suggest TV shows and movies that you actually want to watch? Does Amazon recommend products that actually end up in your shopping cart? Is your Facebook feed made up of posts that interest you?

How accurate is your algorithm?

Related questions: What makes us comment on social media? What do you get out of social media? How does technology influence your emotions? How does media manipulate you?

Black Friday Or Cyber Monday?

After Thanksgiving begins the shopping frenzy leading up to Christmas. When you shop, do you prefer the in-person experience (Black Friday), or do you do your shopping online (Cyber Monday)?

Share why if you wish.

Black Friday Or Cyber Monday?

Farmer’s Market Or Grocery Store?

Are you willing to pay a premium to get your veggies from a local farmer? Or do prefer a one-stop-shopping experience of a grocery store?

Share why if you wish.

Farmer's Market Or Grocery Store?

How Would You Describe Your Civic Life?

Civic life can vary drastically from person to person, and from town to town. Are you active in your local community?

In our lives, there is some level of civic engagement.Even if you live out in the country, there are some services that are provided by the nearby town that benefit you.

The exact amount varies from person to person. While one person might have children in the public school system, another may check out books from the local library. You might serve on a town committee of some sort, or just organize a block party for your neighbors.


Listen to a podcast where Michael and Lee discuss a related question: ‘What makes a place feel like home?’ We also discuss a bonus question: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’


There are some civic services that benefit everyone, like local roads we all drive on, or trash and recycling collection that is done on a weekly basis. What other services do you take advantage of?

Some people are simply good members of the town they inhabit. That might mean shopping a locally-owned stores rather than national chains or online outlets. Or it might mean picking up trash at a local park, or helping out a neighbor in some way.

There is also actual engagement in local politics. This runs the gamut from voting in town elections, to serving on select committees or attending forums to discuss issues that impact your neighborhood or city.

There are many ways of being a member in the town or city where you live. Which ones are meaningful or important to you? How would you describe your civic life?

Related questions: What are our responsibilities to others? What role should the government play in our lives? Why do you live where you live? Urban, suburban, or rural?