Yesterday, I went to a discussion held by Northeastern’s journalism department called ‘The Day After: Making Sense of the Election and What Lies Ahead’. One of the first things that Professor Dina Kraft, a member of the faculty panel, said was that she expected many of us woke up that morning in an America that we didn’t recognize.
That’s exactly how I felt. I thought about the dashboard of my life, Facebook, and I realized how one-sided my news feed was throughout the election cycle. The majority of what I saw on Facebook was news reports about another one of Trump’s gaffes or outright scandals, articles, many of which were op-eds, mainly in support of Clinton, and peoples’ statuses that were essentially all in support of Hillary Clinton.
I favour personalisation and accept the consequence of filter bubbles. Filters are permeable, though.
Walls aren’t: pic.twitter.com/M7oxsQkkje
— Wolfgang Blau (@wblau) November 9, 2016
It is a terrible thing for democracy for people of differing views to be divided so cleanly both geographically and technologically. Potential ‘overfiltering’ of Facebook posts could narrow a user’s idea of what the political landscape looks like in reality and, in turn, could affect his/her own view. I think that we will be seeing much more on this topic in coming months.
As an aside, here are some thoughts on what I’m actually seeing from people on my Facebook feed:
- complete disregard for the ‘other’
These three bullet points could be describing the emotions of most people at one point or another throughout this tortuous election cycle. People across the political spectrum are suffering because of a broken system. I’m not surprised that a candidate with an ill-temper and a history of derogatory language was elected because I can imagine that not being the most important issue for another person. Without being exposed to the thoughts and ideas of other people, it can be difficult to empathize with another person’s struggles.