How Does Social Media Shape Our Political Views?
Social Media and The News
Social media allows us to view political news and participate in political discussion like never before.
At the same time, Facebook, Twitter and other platforms are so popular because they know what we already like. Cute cats? Pics of your bestie? A certain political viewpoint? No problem. Our social media feeds aren’t about helping us explore new things. They’re about creating a comfortable place to hang out. And it works.
Until it’s time to expand our worldview and explore all sides of an issue.
“One of the great things and one of the horrible things about social media is that everyone can have their say,” says Juana Summers, an editor for CNN Politics. “It’s kind of a marketplace for ideas. And some voices that sometimes are not correct or have a very partisan slant can oftentimes get amplified.”
Living in a democracy means that all voices can be heard. But with the ability to curate our own news and limit the voices of those with opposing political views, we end up only hearing from people we agree with and completely missing out on anyone else’s opinion. Instead of embracing a vibrant public conversation, we end up in an online echo chamber.
One of the ways out of this echo chamber is to take control of your news feeds. Here are some ways to curate your social media news to capture more than the sound of your own opinions. Do you do any of these things? If not, take our poll to let us know which ones you’d actually do.
Diversify your news feeds:
- Read something you violently disagree with once a week, as Juana Summers suggests.
- Follow people on Twitter who are experts in their fields, click deeper into the articles they post rather than glancing at photos or headlines
- Fact check before you reTweet. Get on Google and make sure you’re spreading accurate info.
- Research issues from multiple sides before taking a stand.
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