Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Filter Bubble

The Filter Bubble and the idea of algorithms forming what I see on my social media feeds is something that has always intrigued me. Algorithms control ads, website suggestions, and even what content I see on Netflix, online stores and even my own social media feeds. While this is something that's something I think about today, it was not something I thought about when I was in middle school or even high school. Social media like Myspace and Facebook was just a place to catch up with my friends, I assumed the platforms would always be showing what my friends are doing. 

Now with so many different platforms we're getting more information on our relatives and friends than ever. It only makes sense that the likes of Facebook and Twitter curate the most important stories or ideas that you consider interesting. For me the only platforms I primarily use are Facebook and Reddit. Twitter is only something I use for school or work. First, let's talk about Facebook. On my Facebook I have less than 400 friends so while that might not be a huge number, it would still be impossible for Facebook to keep me continuously updated on every single person. While I mainly use Facebook I'm actually not all that active on it.

I mostly use it for chatting so I rarely if ever make comments, like posts or even block anybody. So I think it's why I'm always getting a decent amount of diverse updates on my newsfeed. Specifically, with political related posts I'm getting shared stories on Bernie, Hillary as well as Trump. While I'm not a big fan of Trump I'm still getting likes and shared stories about him because I haven't been as active on Facebook as most people. I'm not going to lie, when people like Trump posts or share stories about him I start to question if I continue having them on my feed. There are a lot of things on my newsfeed that I don't like and that I strongly disagree with but because I haven't really been active on the platform I don't usually do anything about it. Also I feel like deleting someone just because they share different views is completely backwards. 

I agree with the TedTalk speaker we watched today that by curating your feed can lead to less discussion and pull people further apart. But the thing is just because I'm not going to delete the person because of their views it's not like I might start considering reading their article or even sharing it myself. Someone might share a pro-Trump article and while I won't take action on the post, I also wouldn't read it or try to see what the article was about either. So basically, yeah I see all types of posts on my newsfeed and even if I see something I disagree with, I won't unfollow them but I wouldn't give them the time of day either. 

I completely agree that curating our newsfeeds to the things we only want to see can lead to decline of dissoi logoi and more polarization. I also agree that it's completely problematic. How would any discussions happen? How would we stay informed? This especially pertains to staying informed and up to date on news. But, when it comes to entertainment I can see how something like this might be beneficial. Like one of the students in our class mentioning the Bleacher Report app. As a Husker fan I would like to stay up to date on players, stats and current games but I don't need to know what's happening with Duke.

So I'm sure algorithms like this have their pros and cons. When it's things like entertainment or even shopping I can see how it's beneficial. If I buy a Mario video game I would like to get suggestions or deals on upcoming Mario video games because clearly I like them if I spent money on it. But when it comes to news and staying informed I think it's much more beneficial to be engaged in all types of news and media. It helps to better discussion and know what's happening around the world. So the thing is while I might not delete someone on Facebook because of their views, I should try to be more active on Facebook. I should try to see why they would share or like that post. I think that's the best thing you can do to engage Dissoi Logoi more. 

No comments:

Post a Comment