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Web Resources I Enjoy

10 January 2023

In this conversation, Sam Harris and Cal Newport talked about how we use the world wide web, how it has become extremely centralised around a few social media platforms, and the role of recommendation algorithms in this system. Parts of this conversation are starting to influence the way I use the web.

Recommendation algorithms on social media don’t optimise for general human flourishing. They maximise metrics like engagement, views, clicks, or comments. To social media, all engagement is good, regardless of its impact on your life.

Before centralised social media, we had a very organic recommendation system. You read the blogs of people who you thought were interesting, and they linked to sites that they thought were interesting, and you would follow some of those links and find new content for yourself. In this organic system, we are the recommenders. We can “optimise” our recommendations for things that are highly personal and very difficult to measure, like curiosity, wonder, awe, learning, and insight.

I’d like to contribute to a more distributed, personalised, and organic world wide web, so I’ve created a resources page. I’ll continue to add various web resources that I find interesting, in the hope that others might use it to find something new.