If you’re here, you’ve likely found yourself in a strange loop.
One where you’re watching the same genres of movies on Netflix, reading books by the same authors, and getting your news from the same sources.
One where your playlist seems suspiciously similar every week. That is the spell of algorithms.
Algorithms help us navigate the vast sea of digital content, directing us to the islands we’re most likely to enjoy.
But in doing so, they can trap us in a bubble, limiting our exposure to diverse ideas and perspectives.
So, how can we pop this bubble and set ourselves free?
Here are fifteen tips to diversify your content consumption:
1. Spread Your Net Wide
If you usually rely on Netflix for movies, consider also checking out Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, or independent platforms that cater to a wide range of tastes.
Don’t tether yourself to just one or two platforms. Explore new ones and you’ll be surprised at the treasures you’ll find.
2. Dabble in Different Genres
If you typically watch romantic comedies, try venturing into a genre like documentaries or foreign films. You might discover a whole new interest you didn’t realize you had.
The world is full of fascinating stories, ideas, and expressions. Be adventurous, step out of your comfort zone, and give different genres a shot.
3. Wander Through a Library
If you’ve been reading a lot of contemporary fiction, consider picking up a classic novel or a non-fiction book on a subject you’re curious about, like astronomy or history.
Reading is a journey. Don’t just follow the beaten path; venture off-road and explore different types of books, authors, and genres.
4. Strike Up a New Tune
If your playlist is mostly filled with pop music, try adding some jazz, blues, or classical music. Exploring different types of music can enrich your listening experience.
Seek out musicians, genres, and compositions that are unfamiliar, yet intriguing.
5. Turn the Tables on Algorithms
If you find your YouTube recommendations becoming increasingly narrow, go into your settings and clear your watch history to reset the algorithm.
Use the settings on your platforms to turn off personalized recommendations. This will let you chart your own course.
6. Connect and Converse
Strike up a conversation with a friend who has different tastes in books or films. They might suggest something you’d never have picked up on your own.
Engage with a diverse group of people. This can be a springboard to a sea of new content, perspectives, and ideas.
7. Become a Local Explorer
Check out the play being put on by your local community theater or visit a local art exhibition. These can provide unique cultural experiences outside your typical media consumption.
Attend local events, exhibitions, or plays.
8. Join a Rainbow of Communities
If you’re interested in photography, consider joining a local photography group.
You can learn from others, share your work, and get feedback, all of which can help you diversify your perspective.
From hobby clubs to cultural organizations, a myriad of communities are waiting to welcome you. Their interests and insights can be your stepping stones to new content.
9. Cultivate Curiosity
When Netflix recommends a new show, take a moment to ask why. Is it because of your past viewing habits, or is there another reason it might be appealing?
Practice critical thinking. Question the ‘why’ behind every recommendation and evaluate the value it brings to your intellectual table.
10. Go Global
If your media consumption is primarily from U.S. creators, try exploring creators from other countries. For instance, you might enjoy an anime from Japan or a novel from a Nigerian author.
The world is a tapestry of cultures, ideas, and stories. Consume content from different parts of the world and add new threads to your understanding.
11. Disconnect to Reconnect
Set specific “no screen” times during your day, like during meals or for an hour before bed. This can provide a regular break from digital media consumption.
Assign certain times of the day as screen-free periods. Step back, breathe, and enjoy the world outside of pixels.
12. Rekindle Offline Passions
Engage in a hobby that doesn’t involve screens, like painting, gardening, or hiking. These can offer fresh perspectives and a break from digital media.
13. Learn the Algorithm’s ABCs
Take some time to read about how recommendation algorithms work. Websites like “The Algorithmic Justice League” can provide accessible information on this topic.
Knowledge is power, and in this case, it’s the power to control your content consumption.
14. Consider the Source
If you usually get your news from a single source like CNN, try checking out other sources like BBC, Al Jazeera, or Reuters for a different perspective.
When you consume content, always consider its origin. Balance your understanding by seeking out diverse sources.
15. Reflect and Reset
Take a moment at the end of each week to reflect on your media consumption. What did you watch/read/listen to? Was it diverse or very similar? Adjust your habits accordingly in the following week.
Take a regular inventory of your media consumption habits. Spot patterns and make conscious changes where necessary.
Every new author you read, every new genre you explore, every new perspective you consider is a victory.
Navigating the digital realm doesn’t have to be a voyage on a pre-set course. It can be an open-ended journey, an exciting exploration where the algorithm is your assistant, not the captain of the ship.
Breaking free from the algorithmic loop isn’t about rejecting the digital world.
It’s about embracing the digital world in its entirety – the known, the unknown, and the yet-to-be-discovered.