The United States is currently facing an extreme division among our people on many issues ranging from politics to racial equality to the efficacy of vaccines. The reasons behind the polarization weren’t clear to me until I watched an interesting documentary streaming on Netflix called The Social Dilemma.
People in this country have always had diverging points of view, but lately disagreements have escalated to the point of violence, hostility and an inability of the government to pass legislation. The Social Dilemma explains the part that social media plays in all of this.
Social media sites are tracking our clicks and likes. They use that information to give us more of what we’ll like in our feeds, to keep us on their sites. Many people get their news from social media, and as a result, they only ever see news that is in alignment with their beliefs. In other words, we aren’t all receiving the same news. Our social media feeds are different depending on what we “like.”
You’ve maybe wondered how some people can be so stupid when the facts are perfectly clear. The thing is, they’re seeing different facts than the ones that you’re seeing. Therefore their point of view is entirely different from yours.
It’s an interesting problem, and one I hadn’t considered before. It used to be that we all got our news from the same source — the newspaper. Then there was news on the radio and later television news. All of these sources are also somewhat biased, but evidently not as serious as what we’re seeing now.
I have no idea what the solution is to this dilemma. Should social media platforms be required to present balanced news? Is that even possible? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.
With love and appreciation,
Piece at top: “Purple Pool Party,” 14 x 11 inches, collage and tulle on wood panel.