Citizens of our own little bubbles

Kartik Dayanand Mind u Read Citizens of our own little bubbles

This post originally appeared in my weekly newsletter. You can sign up for my newsletter here: Mind u Read Weekly Digest.

Too much content

The Indian cricket team won a historic test match at the Oval last week. I caught bits of the match on the Sony Liv app.

I had a doubt though and tweeted it out…

Most people confirmed my doubt — a majority of them watch it in small bursts when there is some excitement in the game. They get to know about it on Twitter or other platforms and then jump in to watch that segment of the match.

This is very different from the way we grew up watching complete matches on DD. Without any other distractions except for power cuts and news bulletins.

The choice and ease of access of content nowadays is so mind-boggling that this lifetime is not enough to catch up with all that we want to consume. I am not even talking about the things we want to do.

Too much content is the new normal and this week that feeling just grew deeper.

Along with too much content there is something else at play here. I call it the too many little bubbles phenomenon.

I’ll highlight that with a few recent examples.

Bigg Boss and the nameless contestants

Bigg Boss is a very popular show format in India and it has regional versions in multiple languages.

Season 5 of the Telugu version started last week. My mother tongue is Telugu and I have been an avid follower of this show during its second season.

The current season has 19 contestants.

But I’ve heard of only four of those contestants before.

The very fact that they are participants in a show that features local celebrities, should be reason enough for me to know most of them, or at least half of them, but 4 names out of 19 is a shocking ratio by any standards.

Probe all the names individually and we’ll realise that each of them have their own set of loyal fans. Their own little bubbles that we are not aware of.

Open Instagram and browse through the search tab and you’ll find random profiles with millions of followers and thousands of likes on their posts, but you would have never heard of those people before.

Same happens on YouTube. Here are two classic examples.

The Billion+ Song

Tell me honestly. Did you ever come across this song before?

I accidentally stumbled upon this song last week and I was blown away by the fact that it had billion plus views by then. I had never heard about this song until that moment, and it’s been around for more than two years.

This is one bubble from which I was ruthlessly excluded by YouTube’s algorithms :)

Who is Carry Minati?

You will either laugh at my question or really question your existence if you don’t know who he is.

I asked the same question on Twitter one fine day last year, and my notifications tab blew up. Click the image to read the replies I received.

Kartik Dayanand Carry Minati Tweet

If you are still scratching your head, let me tell you that his real name is Ajey Nagar — and he has 32 Million Subscribers on YouTube.

He’s not just the most subscribed independent YouTuber in India but in the whole of Asia.

To put that 32 Million number in perspective:

There are 22.1 Million Indians on Twitter as of July 2021. This dude has 10 million more followers than the total number of Twitter users in India.

Don’t beat yourself up if you have never heard of him before. That’s the law of bubbles at play.

Too many little bubbles

Having access to Google, YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp and other such platforms we believe we know about everything that’s happening in the world.

It’s a lie....we are just citizens of our own little bubbles.

While our country, region or language will primarily decide which bubble we belong to — there are many more smaller bubbles we are a part of unknowingly, and are excluded from many others without a clue in the world.

I blogged about this phenomenon extensively in the past. Here’s a snippet from a 2015 post of mine.

"We are willingly providing intimate personal data to these systems, allowing them to understand us better, to track us 24x7 in return for a better experience. Experiences that could be so customized to our own liking that one man’s perception of reality might differ from another’s."

Click here to read the complete blogpost.

In conclusion

While it might sound scary at one level, these bubbles are a reality we have to accept and move on.

And if you are reading this post, then I am a small part of your bubble too. 

Let me know in the comments if you've already heard of any of the things I mentioned above. I want to know how different your bubble is compared to mine.  

Do share this post with your friends too, to expand our own little bubble :)


Kartik Dayanand Boddapati
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