December 16, 2012

RULE #1--NO POLITICS ON YOUR FACEBOOK PAGE:

Facebook's self-affirmation pushes GOP out of mainstream (Steve Welch, December 16, 2012, Philly.com)

Facebook pushes combative tones, extreme views, and single-issue agendas to the forefront, while even-tempered discussions about comprehensive reforms are buried and rarely seen at all.

First, people are more likely to have friends on Facebook and in real life who agree with their political positions than oppose them. This is human nature. If you are politically active, you are likely to have friends who are also politically active, which means when you post something, your friends tend to agree with you. This turns Facebook into a political echo chamber of consenting "likes," shares, and comments.
 
Second, posts in Facebook that receive a lot of likes and comments rise to the top of people's feeds. This means more controversial posts appear more frequently, drowning out more mundane opinions and thoughts. The result is the amplification of extreme views, which focuses people on single issues. Not only has Facebook become an echo chamber; it amplifies the echoes of extreme views more.
Third, even if you happen to have friends of different political persuasions, their posts are less likely to come up in your feed. Facebook makes money when you click on posts and links, which means Facebook wants you to see things that you agree with. This subtly lulls you into believing the world in general shares your point of view. Not only is Facebook creating an echo chamber that amplifies extreme views, it doesn't allow outside voices into the chamber at all.

Finally, because Facebook feels like a news site, where real news is mixed with unqualified opinion, the two become indistinguishable. The fact-based argument of New York Times columnist David Brooks is given the same weight as the political activities and gut feelings of the Pennsylvania Pastor Network. So now the echo chamber is amplified, closed off, and validating opinions as facts in people's minds.

I am sure the same thing is happening to Democrats. Of course, since my Facebook profile indicates I am a Republican and I tend to click on conservative links, I will never see what Democrats are writing about.

Try just unfriending folks who post argumentative political stuff.


Posted by at December 16, 2012 7:35 AM
  
blog comments powered by Disqus
« THE SHOOTING THAT MATTERED: | Main | REALIZING THE AMERICAN DREAM VIA SELF-DENIAL, IN THE PURITAN NATION: »