Friday, April 1, 2016

Filter Bubble

                I never recognized that Facebook and other various sites were filtering things based on my own belief system. Yes, I knew that there were certain things that I would see that some wouldn’t. For example, I am a 21 year old man who is in a fraternity and is very interested in sports. So of course, I get ads and information based on those things. However, until class on Thursday, I did not know that they were filtering things to me based on my beliefs. Whether that be political, religious, or anything of the sort.
                I encounter opinions other than my own on social media, but it is much rarer than me encountering opinions similar to mine. I have been guilty of unfollowing people that have conflicting viewpoints than my own. But I also have unfollowed people who have similar viewpoints, strictly because they feel the need to blow up my newsfeed with 20 posts a day.
                I also took a look at my friends Facebook feed compared to my own. Yes, we are in the same fraternity, come from the same area of Omaha, and have many similar friends, but we are very different types of people. We do not share many of the same political or religious beliefs and we spend our free time doing different types of things. After scrolling through his Facebook feed, I found many different things showing up that were not showing up on my own. This was not just advertisements. These included posts from mutual friends that we shared. Many of it was political. I was stunned to see the drastic difference in Facebook feeds.
                However, I don’t think Facebook and its algorithm is to blame. We live in a society where everyone wants to be reaffirmed that their opinion is the right one. This started with television networks and their affiliations. Conservative Republicans recognized many years before social media that they agreed and preferred to watch Fox News and other various networks. The same goes for Liberal Democrats and MSNBC and others. People then started to refuse to watch the other network and believed it to be lies and propaganda. This is where I believe the decline of Dissoi Logoi began. I think social media and its algorithms are a response to what the people want and not the other way around.

 Individuals, especially younger generations, do not know how to deal with conflicting ideas or opinions and don’t really understand what it means to debate. It is believed that if you disagree with someone then you automatically hate them or they are an enemy. This can be changed if people begin to understand other perspectives, beliefs, and views and to not be offended when someone questions your own. This begins by clicking on articles that may not agree with your own views, having respectful debates with peers, and surrounding yourself with as many different individuals with different cultural backgrounds as possible.

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