Friday, April 1, 2016

Reflections of the filter bubble in American Society

I have noticed that over time my own filter bubble has become increasingly more homogenous, meaning that I have recently only been viewing certain news stories that I am either interested in or I don’t conflict with. Facebook has been the most noticeable in regards to this trend as I have noticed that I see a core group of 5 or 6 friends that commonly appear on my feed. It once remarked me to say to one of them “you are among very few people who still use facebook” Although it is fair to say facebook has experienced a decline it is surely not probable that these 5 people are the only ones of my over 600 friends that use the social media site. This is most likely due to the effect of social media sites using complex algorithms in order to provide only “relevant” information. Twitter on the other hand offers me a wider perspective and gives me the opportunity to have my views challenged and open myself up to a new experience and mindset about the world. For example I am a proponent of the Black Lives Matter movement, on facebook many of the posts I see are viewpoints that agree with my perspective. Twitter opens up a field where I can see various arguments both in favor and against the movement. It allows me to truly compare both sides and decide my position in a very educated and informed manner. In addition it allows me to observe various perspectives without being forced or feeling obligated to share my opinion and have a disagreement ensue. I can observe and I have the choice to interact or not while I am gathering information to firmly solidify my position.

I will admit that in the past I have followed or unfollowed various people based off of their ideologies. In high school I was very close minded and I reacted to disagreements with anger and frustration rather than insightfulness and an attempt to understand. In college I have done a better job of embracing those opinions and using them to further expand my horizons. To demonstrate this for example, I was raised in a deeply religious household, it’s a characteristic I carried on college. I realized that although it remains important to me I was primarily encultured into it opposed to making my own logical conclusion and attempting to justify my beliefs for myself. To try and become more religiously diverse in my experience I have followed various faith accounts on social media as well as welcoming more open discussion with people of different faith backgrounds and perspectives.  

Overall I do believe that the decline of dissoi logoi is positively correlated with media personalization which leads to an increase in polarization. The algorithmic strategy to sort information destroys any notion of dissoi logoi as we only see a very narrow minded perspective and we are never privileged with seeing a counter argument to our position. Overall while it perhaps allows people to live their life without any disagreement it creates a society where we essentially say that disagreement is unhealthy and is a negative act when in reality it creates an amazing blending of ideas to better society. Polarization shelters our citizens and incites violence when the disagreements must be dealt with. It only hurts our society and weakens the perspective of all those affected by it. To conclude, dissoi logoi is something, that for the good of our nation, for the good of the individual and for the betterment of intellectual progress, must be welcomed and encouraged openly across our culture. Without embracing it we cease to be the melting pot of diversity that America has prided itself on for the past 200 years.

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