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 Post subject: [Informer] The Effect of Social Bubbles
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 4:07 am 
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Social media platforms promised to be the platforms that would connect the world and make the world smaller. They have, but in reality it's the existence of the internet that made this possible. Social media is the user interface for the background plumbing of the internet that connects the world today. Along with this, though, there is a far more sinister effect of social networking websites: the social bubble.

The social bubble is what we create (either inadvertently or intentionally) when we follow and like individuals, groups, or businesses tailored to our interests. This is what makes social media work since these things that we follow or like give the social giants data on what we enjoy. They can then use this data to sell adverts that are tailored to us and this makes them money, hopefully. There's nothing inherently wrong with this idea on its own but it begins to fall apart when humans become involved.

Humans are creatures that naturally like comfort and gravitate towards groups and people that make us feel comfortable. This means we look for things that fit in with our world view because it's comfortable. It also means that because these things are comfortable we're less likely to see them as a bad thing. Naturally, something that is comfortable is less likely to hurt us, therefore, we're going to be able to survive for longer. Social media lets us create zones of comfort that by the nature of being comfortable are reinforcing our views, not challenging us intellectually, and taking away the desire to debate.

Social media create a simple chain of effect where A leads to B leads to C. In this case, social media bubbles reinforce our views, which leads to us not being challenged intellectually inside our social bubbles, and this in turn takes away a desire to discuss and debate these ideas in our social bubble. Reinforcing our own views on social media is not surprising because we choose what we see and we're more likely to want to see items we agree with. If we agree with everything we see there's no reason to intellectually question anything. Finally, if we're constantly reinforced and don't feel the need to intellectual question our beliefs, individuals are at risk of not being able to vigorously debate their beliefs and see anything that challenges their beliefs as wrong!

This problem can in large be fixed by simply following or liking pages that we disagree with if we rely purely on social media websites for news. If we don't rely purely on social media, being challenged becomes easier. We can watch or read other news sources and have an internal debate in our head of what's right and wrong. The human problem is largely fixable on its own by simply opening ourselves up to dissenting view points. The social media side is where the problem truly begins.

Social media giants are the arbiters of information in today's internet connected world. We rely on them to be transparent regarding policies of content removal and user removal from their platforms. We also rely on them to ensure that civil debate and discussion can happen and a multitude of views are present on their platforms. If social media giants decide to limit debate on one side or the other of any controversial idea they are acting as censors.

Social media giants who have user bases in the billions should be completely transparent and honest about the way they handle operations. This includes and should not be limited to:

  • Should users self-ban other users by muting rather than relying on a ban hammer?
  • Is free speech a core value of the organization?
  • Is there a central tenet or will the organization operate differently in China than in the US?
  • Whose thoughts are what the organization thrives on? The view of the organization or those of the user?
  • Are trending topics curated (meaning user input based on traction with editors picking and choosing what to showcase) or are trending topics open to whatever the users want to talk about?
  • What's more important? The global whole or the individual?

These are some questions that any social media corporation should be able to answer easily and truthfully and place the answers on display for the entirety of the user base. If they can't or don't want to then they aren't being upfront with the user. If they waver on these stances they probably are hiding true motives from their user base.

If social media services would prefer to cater to their users wishes for social bubbles, censorship, and the stifling of debate then we are truly troubled. It is not the government that will lead us to the thought police state of 1984 but instead the social platforms that promised to open the world.

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 Post subject: Register and login to get these in-post ads to disappear
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 4:07 am 
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 Post subject: Re: [Informer] The Effect of Social Bubbles
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 5:04 pm 
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As a person who works on camapigns, I have a 'bias' but I also have to remind myself to check multiple sources because just because a source sounds like what I WANT to believe, I have to verify it.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer] The Effect of Social Bubbles
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 6:10 pm 
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Jamandy52 wrote:
As a person who works on camapigns, I have a 'bias' but I also have to remind myself to check multiple sources because just because a source sounds like what I WANT to believe, I have to verify it.


More people need to do that! Do you feel social media is biased in one way or another?

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer] The Effect of Social Bubbles
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 10:10 pm 
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I actually disagree with your main premise. I don't think the problem with social media or the social bubble is the creation of non-challenging, comfortable spaces for people. The biggest issues I see are 1) the disincentive to engage in debate and 2) the increasing difficulty of determining what is truth, what is fake, and how to find consensus.

To my first point, engaging in debate and conversations is still possible. But in many venues or situations, there is risk or no value in doing so, especially if you are on the "non-prevailing" side of an issue. For example, if you want to have a discussion about the refugee crisis in the Middle East and you don't support allowing refugees into the United States, in all likelihood, you will be attacked for this viewpoint. Some people will call you a bad person, un-compassionate, self-interested, etc. The fact of the matter is you can't just simply express your views without taking heat for it OR in fact, only taking heat for it with no actual debate from the other side. Many people on the other side of the issue have no interest in hearing what you have to say and would rather silence you than actually listening to your view point and then debating the topic. You can't have a debate or discussion if one side is unwilling to listen or respond in a respectful and civilized manner.

My second point is more about the truthfulness of information being spread. Sure, there are plenty of people in the world who can verify information, but it does no good if companies or organizations, specifically news entities, seek to suppress certain information and promote others. In other words, if the fight for truthfulness is unfair or weighted towards one side, how will the truth ever make it to light? Even if you can get the truth out there AND if people agree with you, how can you know how many people actually agree with you? Call it skeptical or conspiracy minded, but in many cases, it's hard to verify how many people actually agree with a viewpoint or idea (Brexit and Trump are perfect examples). Until the internet becomes more transparent in the purveying of information AND transparent about the support behind ideas, society will never have an accurate, untamperable avenue to finding the truth.

In summary, the social media bubble is a minor problem of the internet at the moment. There are two real and far larger elephants in the room that must be addressed if we are to correct the current state of affairs. These are:

1) The ability AND willingness of individuals to engage in debate rather than resorting to personal attacks or disagreement based solely on personal beliefs without honest evaluation of ALL facts and consequences.
2) The creation of a transparent, unfiltered, unimpeded atmosphere for the sharing of knowledge, verification, and determination of consensus in which non-prevailing ideas have a chance to be heard with equal weight and respect as prevailing ideas.

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 Post subject: Re: [Informer] The Effect of Social Bubbles
PostPosted: February 23rd, 2017, 10:58 pm 
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Shane wrote:
Jamandy52 wrote:
As a person who works on campaigns, I have a 'bias' but I also have to remind myself to check multiple sources because just because a source sounds like what I WANT to believe, I have to verify it.


More people need to do that! Do you feel social media is biased in one way or another?


I very much do!

For example, a very dear friend of mine is running for DNC chair atm. I know her personally, and not any of the other candidates.

Me and my local bubble all agree she has zero flaws and no one else is a better choice.

We have a serious bias.

However, my friends who supported a presidential candidate who didn't win the primaries, feel someone else is very much a better choice. It was painful for me at first to understand how they felt. Forgetting that I know her, and weighing how they feel, I can still stand by my friend, but I can also embrace the results should another candidate win, now.

Just an insight from 5 years of political work, on both sides of the aisle, and as small as a 1200 race bucket and as large as presidential, one of the biggest tools in political power is emotions.
I say that because I want people to understand your bubble is filled with friends you care about and the emotions that enter your friendships and expectations. I am not here to argue for or against either side or start a political debate on strategy, but I do hope sharing this you can see wholeheartedly why I LOVE this artlicle and believe you to be correct about bubbles and bias.

I also cannot count the number of times I see an article about an opponent I can't stand and have to remind myself to verify before I add to the fake news being spread all over social media.

Thankful for the facebook fake news reporting button too! ;)

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