Social Media is dividing us.
On the surface you would think it would bring us together and widen the base of people we interact with, but I think it is doing the opposite. We add people to our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap-chat, etc. that have views and experiences that match our own and through confirmation bias we are surprised that other view points exist. We cull those view points and opinions that make us uncomfortable limiting the scope of what we view as normal. It also limits dialog between opposing views. “I don’t like what you’re saying so I’m blocking/unfriending you” rather than discussing your differences or just agreeing to disagree. This pruning narrows your view of the world and blinds you to other perspectives.
Before social media our social interactions weren’t filtered to the degree they are now. Sure we chose to interact more with those of similar views more often than not, but we were more exposed. Now when we see something we don’t like we take to our Facebook to get confirmation that your view was the correct one and the other is wrong.
I’m as guilty as most but I do have a few friends that are conservative, some of whom are ultra conservative, you know who you are. I plan to keep them as friends to remind myself that other viewpoints exist and are equally valuable.
While I’m dismayed that Trump was elected I’m not overly surprised because I know how some of those on the other side of the fence view the world.
TLDR: Limiting your Facebook friends, and removing view points that differ from your own is not healthy and I think has contributed to the divide we see now in our country.
By: Michael Alley