Thursday, March 30, 2017

Filter Bubbles and the Media

The definition of a filter bubble, from Wikipedia, is a result of a personalized search in which a website algorithm selectively guesses what information a user would like to see based on information about the user (such as location, past click behavior and search history) and, as a result, users become separated from information that disagrees with their viewpoints, effectively isolating them in their own cultural or ideological bubbles. From our readings and lectures, we have explored the various examples of filter bubbles and the prevalence they have in the lives of people, especially millennials. I do not personally counter a lot of opinions other than my own on my media feeds. The lack of diversity, I believe, is due to two things: the filter bubble and the lack of diversity in my surroundings.

In California where I grew up, I constantly saw many diverse posts on various social media sites I used. I enjoyed this because deny reading the different points and articles, I was challenged in my own beliefs. Moving to Nebraska, a lot of the diversity in my surroundings was taken away. At first it was culture shock, but slowly I have become accustomed to the same ideals across many people. So as much as I am being filter bubbled by my media accounts, moving to a new state with new ideals has also changed my social media feeds.

On Twitter, which is not filtered, I do see a lot more of opposing political view points. On Facebook however, I rarely see any political posts that are not similar to my own, especially if they have links in them. I think an easy way to identify if posts are “liberal” or “conservative” is if they have a link with them, so that is why I rarely see one’s that are opposite of my viewpoint. I don’t usually follow people based on their idealogical leanings because I do not lean super strong on the side I am on. Yet, I did unfollow a few people who were over the top about their posts, especially during the election. It usually took extreme cases, but if there was any derogatory words or phrases I usually unfollowed people. The biggest reason I unfollowed people is if they bashed the other side for no apparent reason without even allowing any discussion. On girl posted in Twitter, “If you voted for Trump, you are saying you hate me and you are a racist. I will unfollow you and I hope you unfollow me”. Although I did not vote for Trump, I thought this was completely ridiculous and petty. If you are not allowing a conversation, you are filter bubbling yourself, farthing what the media is already doing.

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