Monday, April 3, 2017

The Mute Bubble

The Filter Bubble, is more prominent now than ever before. In truth, I didn’t even notice this so called bubble until recently - more specifically during the 2016 election. One thing I secretly love to do is play devil’s advocate when involved in political debates or spirited conversations. To be able to do so, I read articles and watched videos with perspectives and opinions opposite to my own. I like to learn both sides of every argument so when in these debates I can challenge whomever I’m talking to. Most of my Facebook friends and a majority of my family are conservative, so if I wanted to learn about the liberal point of view, I had to go out and find it. The more I started to do so I found that instead of a feed filled with posts that matched a majority of my friends point of views, it was filling up with the types of posts I was seeking out (more left leaning).

Over time the posts became more and more extreme leaning to the opposite side and I was actually too annoyed to even get on Facebook for a while. When I eventually logged back on it was the end of the election season and the insults and extremist views were in full force. So in that moment I did something I’m not entirely proud of, I started to mute people who were posting things that I disagreed with. So it turned out my “filter bubble” was actually working against me, proving that it is not fool proof. Yes technically the algorithm was working correctly, my feed was filling up with posts similar to what I had recently be interested in. But, the one thing a computer can’t measure of predict was my intent. How was it supposed to know that I was reading up on the other end of the spectrum not because I agreed with it, but merely to educate myself.

Turning off the other side of the argument is never something we should be allowed to do, but you know what they say, ignorance is bliss. This is a common theme now, I mean how many times have you seen someone post a Facebook status have you seen along the lines of “delete me if you think this…” or “I’m deleting everyone who say things like this”  and the usually follow through. I could see a case for people blaming political ignorance, or just an overall lack of educated opinions, on the “filter bubble”. In reality, when is come to browsing things we disagree with we don’t even need it, because we can just tune them all out ourselves. The real issue lies within ourselves. We need to be open to conflicting ideals, open ourselves up to hearing out the other side, not putting it on mute.  

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