Study: social media bubbles might not be making us more polarized after all

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/29/14983026/social-media-polarization-study-nber

I came across this article and found that it was pretty interesting and that it related nicely to the course. The main focus of the article is the recent US election and it examines people’s shock about Trump’s victory. It mainly talks about the idea of social media bubbles, which are often thought of as things that distance groups of people with opposing beliefs. However, this article claims that internet users are actually far less polarized than non-internet users, making social media bubbles less significant than originally believed. Overall, it this article helps to dismiss the notion that social media acts as an ‘echo chamber’ where people only see things that support their own beliefs and that much of political polarization exists outside of the internet.

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2 thoughts on “Study: social media bubbles might not be making us more polarized after all

  1. Although this article doesn’t go into depth about the impacts and other variables the study tested to conclude social media bubbles are not making people as polarized as we think, I thought it was really interesting for offering a different perspective about echo-chambers.

    Vox discusses how voters who were the least likely to use the internet, age 75+, are the most polarized. However older voters are also those who are less likely to change their beliefs. I definitely think polarization and echo chambers are more than just black & white issues.

    After reading this article, I am interested in looking into how much of an impact echo chambers and social media can impact empathy. Personally, I think because people can so easily close a tab, change apps or scroll away from tragedy and political mayhem in the news/on their newsfeeds, people are used to reading shocking headlines without truly critically thinking about the impacts.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for posting this Charlie – this is an important new study that contradicts some of what we’ve been learning regarding the role of social media in perpetuating filter bubbles and echo chambers. While certainly more research on this needs to be conducted, this study demonstrates some of the nuance we need when trying to understand how social media impacts our political perspectives.

    Like

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