Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Filter Bubble

            The filter bubble is a comfortable and cozy area of the Internet where one can feel like they belong because the views and opinions in that filter bubble are all similar. The voices that fill that filter bubble are voices of agreement and support, not voices of constructive criticism, nor voices of disagreement. The problem with the filter bubble is that people are not being exposed to difficult situations and are not being challenged to critically analyze and consider different viewpoints and opinions on a variety of subjects. Websites like Facebook and Google collect data to create algorithms that determine what a person will see on their Newsfeed and Google Results. The filter bubble has created a space where dissoi logoi is no longer required in order to participate in a meaningful conversation in which participants are able to disagree with one another.
            On the other side of things, people have conversations and arguments all the time through public Facebook posts, YouTube comments, Tweets, and the like. People are always calling each other out on little things like grammar to the more important things such as ideals and beliefs. From what I’ve witnessed on Facebook, a lot of the time people are tearing each other down for what they believe or something insignificant they said. Comments are dissected down to a single word or a single phrase that was used. These dissections of comments may not be the most constructive way to participate in dissoi logoi, but it is still beneficial that people are able to partake in constructive conversations. Although these conversations happen within a personalized filter bubble, people are still communicating, using rhetoric, and arguing. The content of an argument within the filter bubble is limited because of the customized algorithm of the filter bubble; however humans are social creatures and will interact with others in anyway that they are able.
            Social interaction through the Internet creates a safe environment for people to voice their opinions and debate different topics. This safe environment becomes even safer through the filter bubble because the people that are debating often share similar, if not identical, opinions. The filter bubble decreases the amount of media that really matters and filters in the posts that will put people in a good mood rather than putting people in a situation where they might actually have to use their brain. Humans, although they are social creatures, are also creatures of comfort. People want to see the funny memes and the latest weight loss trends and the celebrities that are “just like us”. These things, while entertaining, are not things of importance to the world. These entertaining articles are there to distract people from the important things going on in the world such as the crisis with ISIS, troops being deployed, people starving and the like. These topics are often on the outside of most people’s filter bubble because they are difficult subjects to discuss because they make people uncomfortable. These uncensored posts about difficult subjects are rich in subject matter for people wishing to participate in serious discussions.

            The filter bubble creates a safe environment for friendly debate mostly about insignificant topics. Without the filter bubble the people of the Internet would be exposed to a wide variety of topics to discuss and analyze and form opinions on so that they can debate and discuss what is meaningful to them.

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