Friday, April 1, 2016

Filter Bubbles

Everyone has their own personalized filter bubble, because if it wasn’t tailored specifically to you, it wouldn’t be considered a filter bubble. For this blog post, I have been thinking a lot about my own filter bubble. I started thinking about it in the types of things I see on my Facebook/Instagram/Twitter feed that have to do with politics and I couldn’t come up with much. I do not actively search out political news and honestly reading about all the “terrible, awful” things politicians do stresses me out. I like to think our country is getting better rather than worse and while it might make me uninformed, I tend to avoid those types of articles and status updates. That being said, I went on my Facebook page and counted the top 50 posts on my feed and not a single one of them had anything to do with politics. In class, we talked about the algorithms that make this happen and it makes sense. If every time something political comes up I ignore it, why would Facebook think the next one it shows me will interest me? Although this makes for a more pleasant read through Facebook, it leaves me a little in the dark. If I had the ability to see the articles that people post and the status updates that tell me what people are saying, I might know more about this election and the people who are in it.

I went to Google and typed in "political polarization" to see what type of results I would get. I got links to definitions of the word polarization, “Causes and Consequences of Political Polarization”, and “Scholarly Articles about Political Polarization”. This made me wonder what type of results people who are different than me. If someone was very active in reading about Republican candidates and policies would their search results be less scholarly and definition oriented? I had my friend who is very actively involved with the Republican Party search political polarization to see what her results would look like. While most of her results were similar to mine, the further down she went, there were links to things that had to do with the Republican Party and none that were more liberal. I think that is exactly the type of thing we talked about in class, that these type of filtered search results, “filter bubbles”, are contributing to the political polarization of our country. If someone who is already very strong in their beliefs sees more articles that add to what they already believe, it is just adding fuel to the fire. They don’t get to see the other side of the argument, which is what dissoi logoi is. I think this is problematic because it is making it so much harder to get people to compromise and see that they might not be completely right.

One way to do this, like what was said in class, is to actively search out the other side of the argument. Even though it might not be what you want to hear, it is good for everyone to at least know more than just what they believe. I think that even though I don’t actively click on links and watch political videos, it would be good for me to at least have the option of seeing something, even if it is as small as reading the headline of an article. 

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