Friday, April 1, 2016

Filter Bubbles

            I am often on Facebook. At this point in my life, my Facebook consists of acquaintances posting about their first world experiences and everything BuzzFeed. The articles and links I tend to click on are primarily entertainment based. Since this is the case, most of what commonly pops up is from BuzzFeed or pages of a few celebrities’ pages that I’ve liked. As I look back on it, before I liked BuzzFeed, I followed the San Francisco Globe and frequently clicked on the stories they posted. Now, I still follow them but I hardly ever see stories posted in my newsfeed. This may be because I changed the settings of the page so that I would see less of it but I can’t remember for sure. As for BuzzFeed, I click on nearly every article, quiz, and video that they post that I haven’t already seen. It seems as though every other post on my newsfeed is from BuzzFeed.  
             I have also liked quite a few LGBTQ based pages. As a result, I see a decent amount of news and articles about current legislation being passed focused on LGBTQ rights. I’m sure that because of these pages, I tend to see more of what my friends post related to these topics. Other than that aspect, I feel as though I don’t have many friends that post about their views on political topics. I have a few family members that are big Bernie Sanders supporters and maybe two or three friends that occasionally post in opposition of Sanders’s viewpoints. With this in mind, I don’t come across many things that are against my opinions.
            On the occasion that I do unfriend people on Facebook, it’s usually because I find their daily posts annoying. I also tend to unfriend people based on the last time I talked with them and how invested in their lives that I want to be. If I have had few interactions with a person and they don’t post anything worth my time, they lose me as a friend. As far as I can assess, I don’t unfriend people based on their views.
            I would agree that participating in dissoi logoi has declined. Based on the information provided in class, Facebook and Google have large roles in this sad phenomenon. If people aren’t readily able to have access to opposing views along with the articles in favor with their opinion, they aren’t thinking deeply about their opinion. Most people today also don’t have the motivation to actively research the opposing position. If Facebook didn’t weed those articles from their feed, they would be able to easily participate in dissoi logoi. Instead, people are reaffirming their opinions and even strengthening their opinions without ever truly knowing the entirety of the other side’s position.

            This polarization is destructive. It isn’t helpful when it comes to the government and it isn’t helpful when it comes to discussing political issues with other people. Polarization often only includes two very differing opinions. It doesn’t take into account compromising solutions to the issues or opinions that aren’t as commonly held. In order for people to engage in more dissoi logoi, they can turn to the tv and watch programs and channels geared towards a specific viewpoint of an issue. These may be biased but they won’t get parts of the other side’s story, they’ll get all of how the other side thinks. People can also do in depth research and weed through Google searches. Even if an opposing article pops up on Facebook, they can click on that and start the process of gaining more opposing posts on their feed.

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