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Break out of your filter bubble

Published onDec 17, 2019
Break out of your filter bubble

We’ve all got biases based on where we come from and what we believe. With social media algorithms designed to feed us even more of what we already want, the effect of our biases gets even more extreme, filtering out those who disagree with us so we never hear from them. Some have started to call this problem a “filter bubble.” And it’s making it hard to have a civil discussion about what we think should happen in our communities.

Fortunately, people have started to realize how big of a problem this is. A huge number of organizations and tools has sprung up to help us burst our filter bubbles. Here’s some resources to break out of yours.

If you’d like more perspectives in your news feed is a news site developed by a Republican and a Democrat to place different perspectives on the same topic side by side.

If you’d like to compare top stories on different sides

Take a look at the “Blue Feed, Red Feed” tool developed by the Wall Street Journal. It’s been archived for now, but it can show you what’s on social media feeds being shown to people on opposite sides of the political spectrum.

If you’d like to join online conversations about issues that divide us

Living Room Conversations has a series of online webinars on pressing issues. The discussions work on a model you can use in your own face to face conversations, too.

If you just need advice on how to have conversations without fighting

Living Room Conversations has some great resources for this, too, including basic agreements to come to at the beginning of a conversation and tips on how to talk with family members who disagree with you.

If you’d like to talk with people face to face

Going offline can really help pop your filter bubble. Living Room Conversations was started as a way to help people in the same community with different perspectives come together to try to understand each other. Granted, this is going to be harder during the COVID crisis… but they do have resources for the COVID era, as well.

If you’re still in college

BridgeUSA and its sister organization Bridge Europe help students organize civil discussions across political divides on campus.

If you’re an educator

Civic Spirit is working on civic understanding with primary and secondary school students. The Digital Polarization Initiative has college students do fact-checking to encourage them to engage in civic issues and develop better web literacy.

If you want to go local

In the US, there are organizations sponsoring face-to-face conversations locally around the country. Make America Dinner Again and Center for the Study of Liberty organize local dinner parties in a number of cities.

Chicago, IL: On The Table

Tallahassee, FL: The Village Square

For more ways to dive deep and break your filter bubble, including exercises to help you out, pick up a copy of Keep Calm and Log On.

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