Nieman Lab: Want to feel less anxious about the state of the world? Try diversifying your online news sources. “A new study suggests that consumers who actively take steps to diversify their news consumption — following accounts and news outlets that post a wide range of viewpoints, and interacting online with people who have different views from their own — feel less anxious about current events than people who don’t take such actions. ”
Forbes: Is Social Media Curating Hate And Scouring The Web For Our Greatest Fears?. “Social media’s great promise was to connect the world. Yet rather than aggregate the world into a single real-time firehose, social platforms have increasingly turned to algorithmic curation to hand-feed us a perfectly personalized filter that appeals to our most intimate and powerful interests, desires and fears.”
Nieman Lab: Few people are actually trapped in filter bubbles. Why do they like to say that they are?. “We’re not trapped in filter bubbles, but we like to act as if we are. Few people are in complete filter bubbles in which they only consume, say, Fox News, Matt Grossmann writes in a new report for Knight (and there’s a summary version of it on Medium here). But the ‘popular story of how media bubbles allegedly undermine democracy’ is one that people actually seem to enjoy clinging to.”
MIT Sloan Management Review: Twitter Is Not the Echo Chamber We Think It Is. “We are in the midst of a public conversation about whether social media echo chambers facilitate the spreading of fake news or prevent constructive dialogue on public issues. In a recent interview with The Washington Post, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said that he was experimenting with features to reduce echo chambers on Twitter by inserting content with alternative viewpoints into people’s feeds. In response, an op-ed in The New York Times predicted that this idea would backfire, citing recent research showing that exposing people to alternate viewpoints only makes them more partisan. The problem with this otherwise important debate is that it assumes that Twitter users exist in echo chambers in the first place. They don’t.”
Ars Technica: Being reminded of your political bubble can stop you from breaking out. “Using social media is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it can connect us to many more people than we would otherwise interact with, which is great. But our choices regarding who we interact with (often amplified by a platform’s algorithms) limit many of our social networks in a way that keeps us tucked within an echo chamber of people who think like us. And in that mode, our social interaction may exacerbate tribal attitudes towards people outside our groups rather than breaking down barriers.”
Nieman Lab: Republicans who follow liberal Twitter bots actually become more conservative. “Social media companies have been big on injecting “alternative views” into users’ feeds — the idea, seemingly, being that exposing people to values and beliefs that conflict with their own will expand their worldviews or making them more tolerant. (See also: a zillion different ‘burst your bubble’ efforts. In some ways, this makes all the sense in the world. On the other hand, changing people’s minds is hard.” There are limitations to this study and I’m not here to make RB political. However I have severe problems with those folks who say, “All you have to do is explain your side and people will understand.” Would that were true, but it’s not.
MIT Technology Review: This is what filter bubbles actually look like. “American public life has become increasingly ideologically segregated as newspapers have given way to screens. But societies have experienced extremism and fragmentation without the assistance of Silicon Valley for centuries. And the polarization in the US began long ago, with the rise of 24-hour cable news. So just how responsible is the internet for today’s divisions? And are they really as bad as they seem?”