Personalization’s big question: Why am I seeing this?

Sara M. Watson from Digital Asia Hub discusses the state of personalization and how it can become more useful for consumers.

By Mac Slocum
February 3, 2017
A diagram of the emission spectrum of magnesium. A diagram of the emission spectrum of magnesium. (source: Christopher Thomas on Wikimedia Commons)

For more on personalization, check out these sessions from recent Strata + Hadoop World conferences: The Personalization Spectrum, by Sara M. Watson; Data Science at eHarmony: A Generalized Framework for Personalization, by Jonathan Morra; and Augmenting Machine Learning with Human Computation for Better Personalization, by Eric Colson.

I recently sat down with Sara M. Watson, technology critic and writer in residence at Digital Asia Hub. We discussed:

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What is the personalization spectrum and why do we need it? (00:09)

“Most consumers don’t even know if an experience is personalized,” Watson says. (00:42)

Online personalization is still in its infancy. It’s largely happening to people instead of for people. (02:22)

Language matters. “Targeting,” “user,” and other personalization terms “shape what it is you think you’re doing,” Watson says. (03:53)

What does ideal personalization look like? It starts with relevance, meaning, and empowerment. (08:08)

Spotify’s Discover Weekly recommendation engine is a good example of useful personalization. (08:53)

We need tools that let us tweak personalization to suit our needs. (10:39)

The people and projects she’s following. (16:20)

Note: This interview was conducted in September 2016.

Post topics: Data