Bubbles, Information Biases, & Social Media

The Orville is one of three TV shows watched by both liberals and conservatives.

To be sure both Republicans and Democrats are living in their own bubbles. Real bubbles are gases surrounded by a liquid, isolated, and short-lived. Information bubbles are of our own making. They are filled with philosophies, facts, attitudes, and actions that tend to fuel our own prejudices. Bubbles form when we limit the information we get to the information we want to hear. Breaking out of the bubbles is the problem. Breaking others out of their bubble is a bigger problem.

Most television programs apparently appeal to one political view or another. Apparently, there are only three TV shows that both political views like equally: Dancing with the Stars (DWS), Star Trek: Discovery, and The Orville. This could be the place to start. If you have conservative friends – talk to them about these programs. How do they view the characters, the plot lines, or the dancing skills of various couples on DWS.

Liberals enjoy programs with diverse casts and center around modern life in urban settings. Conservatives tend to favor shows with traditional notions of heroism and bravery, which revolve around the military, or rescue workers.

When I am surfing the web in search of information it is somewhat disturbing when I find ads that pop-up on website advertising clothes, cameras, or cars that I have been looking at. It is like the marketers are following me. This is exactly what seems to have influenced the last election. Targeting people with certain biases and sending them political propaganda. Not everyone got the propaganda, just those individuals who had online profiles that suggested they were susceptible to it.

Recently Facebook stock decreased in value when the company announced massive changes to its news feed. FB is prioritizing helping users have “more meaningful social interactions” versus finding “relevant content.” Facebook says that users will see less public content from businesses or publishers and more posts from their friends. This could be a major step in getting some people out of their bubbles – or at least reducing the amount of propaganda they receive.

Seeing what the opposite political views are is important – disturbing certainly – but important. Understanding where conservatives are coming from is the only way to beat them. Watching Fox News is always an enlightening experience for me. I try not to do it often because it simply raises my blood pressure- but it is important because it provides some insight into the workings of the conservative brain.

Here is a link to a list of articles that you can use to burst your bubble and help you understand where conservatives are coming from. Do it, but be aware it is disturbing!