How the Shutdown of Google Reader Threatens the Internet
In the early 2000s, the Internet was eclipsing other mass media like print publications and broadcasting. Panicked by this development, some scholars projected a dystopian future where Internet users would create their own "Daily Me" (a term popularized in Nicholas Negroponte's 1995 book, Being Digital [affiliate link]) of customized information sources. As people relied on their Daily Me instead of traditional media sources, the dystopians feared that people would only consume information that reinforced their existing beliefs, rather than being serendipitously exposed to content that challenged or conflicted with their existing perceptions. For example, in his 2001 book Republic.com [affiliate link], Cass Sunstein wrote: For countless people, the Internet is producing a substantial decrease in unanticipated, unchosen interactions with others. The resulting lack of intellectual diversity may produce "echo chambers," where only like-minded people talked to each other and reinforce each others' own increasingly polarized viewpoints. This in turn jeopardizes core democratic principles.