Saturday, April 29, 2017

Extra Credit: The Invisible Pasta Strainer

Filter bubble: Unaccompanied, unseen, and involuntary. Those are the three dynamics of a filter bubble: you are alone in the bubble, it is completely invisible, and one does not simply choose to enter a filter bubble. Filter bubbles shape and mold our perceived worlds. These invisible pasta strainers filter out what we are not stimulated by (the water) and leaves what we love and want in life (the pasta). Everyone has a filter bubble, regardless of whether we realize it or not, and regardless of whether we want to be in it or not. From birth, we are encased in our own personalized bubbles that are inescapable and shape our entire lives.  Not only that, in the day and age of algorithms everywhere, our worlds are becoming increasingly personalized without our knowledge or consent. And while we may see our world as objective and right, that is not the case as many people cannot see their own subjectivity that is inherent in having their own personalized bubbles.
            My personal filter bubble has been extremely tailored to my viewpoints and it has partly been because of my own personal actions and the actions of the algorithms that are built into my entire world that surrounds me. Within my own media feeds, I often see opinions that are in line with my own and I realize that. I chose to like and follow certain people on twitter, Facebook, and even snapchat – which I think people often forget as being a mode of reinforcing one’s personal views and vendettas. For example – with snapchat – I only follow certain people so I can see their lives and what they think is fun or what they think is worth their time, and furthermore, I only view snap stories of corporations whose stories I will like (who often push their views on political issues). But for more obvious platforms such as Facebook and twitter, I follow specific news sources such as Huffington Post, CNN, or other moderate/left leaning publications. I do not follow radical leftist cites, but I also do not give radical conservatives any attention either unless I really feel like making myself angry. Even in real life, I have a very slanted filter bubble. I surround myself with friends who have the same viewpoints as me and usually limit my interactions with those whom I disagree. My family - however - is different than I am in the political sphere, so I do hear the other side of arguments quite often when I am with them. This often leads to conflict however and thus, we often avoid talking politics in order to maintain harmony and goodwill within the family.

            Often, when it comes to seeing other viewpoints on the various feeds of my social media, I do unfollow them or even unfriend them in some cases. I recognize that this is extremely detrimental to the idea of Dissoi logoi however and does increase my own hubris. However, one must also acknowledge that when I do unfriend or unfollow someone, they disagree on things that are very near and dear to me personally and often affect me directly and personally. In most cases, I have unfriended people who were homophobes or racists, which both affect me directly as an LGBT person of color. A prime example is a girl who believed that gay marriage was wrong and that she needed to have “#straightpride.” On issues such as that that I believe so strongly in, I do not acknowledge the other side, which I do see as harmful to the discourse and I admit to that fully. On issues such as these though – that affect my life and rights directly – should people such as myself need to give affordances to the other side and give them a platform in which to dispute? That is something that can be heavily debated, especially in a class on rhetoric in which listening to both sides and creating arguments based on that are crucial, if not required.


Pariser, "Introduction and User is the Content"

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