One of the challenges human motivation presents us is the disinterest people have in actively seeking out unfamiliar information. If reading these articles made me realize anything, it’s that people are much more willing to seek out people, places and information to validate themselves and their opinions. In order to remedy this, I think we should try to foster a feeling that the South Madison area has traditions and cultures to make our target audience feel at home there. If we can, our audience might be more motivated to visit based on their perceived similarities. However, we could also choose to attract people to the South Madison area by labeling it as a new and exciting experience. Although changing people’s behavior is challenging, Pariser describes the sense of accomplishment we feel when trying new things stating “the experiences we have when we come across new ideas, people, and cultures are powerful. They make us feel human” (Pariser 224). We could try to capitalize on the invigoration that comes with trying new things!
Lack of knowledge goes hand in hand with lack of motivation. The message from the readings seemed to be that people would rather have their beliefs and opinions affirmed than seek out opposing ideals. However, when people refuse to hear or experience different viewpoints, they also miss out on the opportunity to evolve their opinions. Stroud describes this phenomenon saying “the logic is that if citizens are not exposed to information that conflicts with their beliefs, then they have no reason to change their beliefs” (Stroud 11). The lack of knowledge is only fueled by technology’s role in the problem. Personalization is making it increasingly harder for people to encounter information by chance. If users have not shared any information with these news aggregators which indicates a tie or interest to the culture of the South Madison area, then they most likely will not see our information come up in searches or on websites they use. As Pariser states “while the Internet has the potential to decentralize knowledge and control, in practice it’s concentrating control over what we see and what opportunities we’re offered in the hands of fewer people than ever before” (Pariser 218).
The best solution I can offer so far would be to use Twitter. Twitter appeared to be the social networking site that was the least centered around personalization. All of the tweets from everyone you subscribe to are displayed in a timeline with none left out. If we all had accounts that we actively used and started posting about restaurants in the South Madison area or the Farmer’s Market there, then it might catch our friends’ attention and motivate them to visit the area. When I use Twitter and see funny tweets about a place or occurrence it makes me much more interested. Also, I generally trust my friends’ taste in food and restaurants. So we could use our friends’ trust to spread the interest. It could also be fun to do a video series on our website where we eat at different restaurants each week and give our feedback about the experience. Kindof a “No Reservations with Anthony Bourdain” type of deal where we give some background on the place and then actually eat the food. Having our genuine opinions and experiences could be a fun way for both us and our target audience to learn about the South Madison area.