In the last decade, social media has transformed itself – the modern society revolves around social networks, which are now the majority of the population’s primary news sources. People can get their daily dose of updated information simply by scrolling through their Facebook feed, going through publications of pages that they follow.
This has led to the emergence of concepts such as filter bubbles and echo chambers. Websites like Facebook, Twitter and Google analyze the user’s past activity and make assumptions by selecting information based on this analysis and presenting it to the user. This way, he’s presented with information he’s genuinely interested in. On the other hand, this selection of ideas can cause isolation from opposing viewpoints, as the user only has access to views he agrees with.
“(…) the internet is highly effective at bringing like-minded groups of people together — and terrible at creating space for differently minded people to debate.” (via The Verge)
As an attempt to exemplify this, I’m going to take my personal case. When scrolling through my Facebook feed, I often come across posts by Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, fashion bloggers, lifestyle magazines and the mandatory news websites – BBC and The Guardian. By analyzing my own case, I can tell that I am more inclined to read about fashion, lifestyle and general news, which means I stay away from other areas of knowledge and culture, like sports and economics, for example.
However, I believe it’s important for someone to have at least superficial knowledge of most areas of interest, so the solution would be to read more about topics that I usually wouldn’t go for.
Filter bubbles are the most noticeable when it comes to politics, hence why this concept was so popular during the 2016 US Presidential elections. The conformation of someone with a certain political view means that most of the time they only interact with people who share the same view as them and this will consequently lead to their isolation from other perspectives and viewpoints. To get the best point of view possible, especially in politics, a person should be aware of every single perspective and interact with people with opposite viewpoints. Only this way will someone make the best decision, having in mind every factor that might affect their lives.