I’ve been thinking a lot about echo chambers and filter bubbles lately. This article is a pretty good overview of what these phenomena are.
I have found that the real bubble is much larger. It is not race or age or religion or where you live. The person can think. Let me give you an example of thinking. Years ago, a high school debating team had set up a table in front of the local supermarket to get donations for their activities. I made eye contact with them, I was involved. Thinking quickly, I did not want to donate, not my thing. I said, give me reasons not to donate, and I will provide you with five dollars (the change in my hand from shopping.) The young lady rattled off some very persuasive arguments why I should not want to donate. I had lost and gave. My point is that in my universe, the bubble is people who can think. I am always looking for such people. Most people are programmed from birth and through school to assume a specific way and to believe particular things. When I engage them in a conversation, they do not respond to new information, new ideas. Like talking to my cat.
This phenomenon, self-segregation in one of the most (if not the singlemost) racially and culturally diverse societies ever known, has been deliberately cultivated by mind-bogglingly effective political machines. The goal is to create narrow-minded (and in some cases single issue) constituencies which can easily be deployed for fund-raising and electoral support. I have read some well-written articles on this topic and will post them when and as possible.
“Can the diffusion of broadband internet explain the recent success of populist parties in Europe? Populists cultivate an anti-elitist communication style, which, they claim, directly connects them with ordinary people. The internet therefore appears to be the perfect tool for populist leaders. In this study, we show that this notion holds up to rigorous empirical testing. Building on survey data from Italy and Germany, we find a positive correlation at the individual level between use of the internet as the main source of political information and voting for populist parties, but not for other, mainstream parties. We then demonstrate that this relationship is causal with an instrumental variable strategy, instrumenting internet use with broadband coverage at the municipality level. Our findings suggest that part of the rise of populism can be attributed to the effect of online tools and communication strategies made possible by the proliferation of broadband access.”
“Spending long amounts of time with people who agree with you doesn’t just lead to groupthink, these researchers have found; it can also lead to the gradual silencing of dissent and the elevation of, and consensus around, the most virulent opinions. If you want to make people more extreme, you don’t have to threaten them or brainwash them. Just plop them in a like-minded group, and human nature will do the rest… Above all, social media are a mechanism for allowing people to find like-minded individuals and to form groups with them… the largest social-media networks have built algorithms that exacerbate both group polarization and the Viral Screaming Effect.”
After reading the article that the problem is people who do not think very well are easy to manipulate. So when these people enter youtube or facebook land they are captured. I am very selective what I watch or read, I avoid the mindless babble or when I can help offer to guide the poor un-thinkers to a better path. Our schools have stopped graduating qualified thinkers so it is a problem.