I’m not interested in posting about the political race for president or frankly, what it has devolved into.
What is of interest to me is how social media may be polarizing our country further. I’m a big believer in in the law of unintended consequences. I’ve seen what a mess of things it has made throughout my life. Politically, the effects of what we legislate – however noble the intention (giving the benefit of the doubt here) – always has a price. By attempting to stop one thing, we incentivize another. Someone wins, someone loses… usually “the American people” that so many politicians so casually invoke and have a disproportionate amount of respect for.
But I digress.
We’re growing increasingly intolerant of views different than our own and that disturbs me. I bet if we all would spend a little more time reflecting on things that truly affect our lives and actually “listening” to each other, and a bit less tuned into the evening news or wasting away the day with celebrity nonsense, we’d discover that there is a more significance and order to our lives than we’re being led to believe by the media outlets.
I personally think that as a society, one of our biggest problems is we don’t talk enough TO one another. (Although talking “AT” each other without listening doesn’t seem be a problem.)
We don’t need to be afraid of each other’s opinions. Political Correctness be damned. People need to accept (and perhaps even celebrate) the fact that it’s okay to have differences. In the end, we each have more commonalities than differences and it’s okay to express who we are without having worry that someone will disagree with us.
It’s perfectly okay to acknowledge that we see things differently.
But social media is isolating us. We’re shutting the door on opinions that are different from our own. We aren’t hearing the other side, even to debate it. We simply erase and delete contrary opinion. So nobody communicates and we grow more frightened of the world and less tolerant of each other as each day passes.
Those who dare to speak dissenting beliefs or honest opinions are often reviled and I have no illusions about being spared.
I would admonish everyone to broaden their mind and avoid the trap of disregarding everything a person writes or says just because you disagree with him or her on one or more issues. You can learn something from everyone you come in contact with, no matter on how many issues you disagree with them on.
But I fear the way things are going, they will never have a chance to hear what I might have say, much less argue the point.
SCOTT SIMON, HOST: Five people are still running for president. They each make the case they’re the strongest candidate to win election in the fall. They all can’t be right. But in a recent column for Bloomberg View, Megan McArdle says it’s become easy for candidates and many of […]
MCARDLE: Absolutely. You know, I grew up in Manhattan and the funny thing about Manhattan was that you would get these Pauline Kael (ph) moments where people said, well, obviously no one’s going to vote for George Bush or Ronald Reagan or something. I’ve never met anyone.
But that used to be a delusion that was confined to Manhattan and specifically because the people in Manhattan were not only in this geographic bubble, but because they ran the media. Everyone outside watched television that came in from New York and understood that there were people who really vehemently disagreed with them. Now the way social media works is that it curates your content so that it’s giving you more of what you like, what you click on.
SIMON: These are the algorithms.
MCARDLE: The algorithms, exactly, and the problem with that is that the curation is actually invisible. We don’t realize that we’re creating bubbles. Now, there are people who absolutely unfollow people who disagree with them politically on Facebook or so forth. But even those who don’t, Facebook feeds you more of what you like and click on. Google does the same. And so it comes to seem that the news universe, that people who agree with you are much more ubiquitous than they actually are. And that leads us to the conclusions that – I mean, I’ve been informed by voters that every single candidate who’s still there is completely unelectable.
No one would ever vote for them because X. And it’s not even that those weaknesses are wrong. It’s that they vastly overestimate the amount to which the rest of the country cares about them. And, you know, having spent my time as a libertarian, being a libertarian means being well aware no one agrees with you. And it strikes me as very strange that suddenly we’re seeing this phenomenon of people who really just don’t seem to understand that they are a minority and not a majority in the country.
The problem with that is that the curation is actually invisible. We don’t realize that we’re creating bubbles. Now, there are people who absolutely unfollow people who disagree with them politically on Facebook or so forth. But even those who don’t, Facebook feeds you more of what you like and click on. Google does the same. And so it comes to seem that the news universe, that people who agree with you are much more ubiquitous than they actually are.
…And it’s not even that those weaknesses are wrong. It’s that they vastly overestimate the amount to which the rest of the country cares about them.
So this is kind of an astonishing moment. And I think that we have to look at how these bubbles that we all live in and the opacity of these bubbles so that we don’t even realize that there are other bubbles out there, how that’s shaping our electorate and what that might mean for our political future.
SIMON: I mean, we think we’re getting news, but are we getting…
MCARDLE: We think we get – we are getting news, but we’re not getting all of the news we need.