Thursday, December 29, 2005

We are surrounded by our own “yes men”

I like reading blogs.

Observation: frequently blog posts are reactions to something else written by someone else somewhere else.

My question is---do people seek out information that validates what they already believe, or do they seek out lots of information and then form their opinions based on what they have compiled?

I suspect it is more the former than the latter much of the time, and I am certain that I do it too.

The problem is that in our ultra-niche consumption culture—where consumers can literally seek out only the information they want to hear/read/expose themselves to---there is less curiousness about “the other side.”

If you are a hard core lefty, then there are plenty of rags/mags/sites/books to spend your time with, there is absolutely no reason to expose yourself to conservative thought or ideas. And of course, the reverse can also be true.

The ability to choose to only expose yourself to certain perspectives makes the internet less like a globally interconnected web of ideas and more like a hyper-efficient echo chamber.


Anonymous JW said...

You raise a good point. I was concerned about this before the last election, when it was obvious we were extremely polarized. We do hear opposing viewpoints however, like you and I trading jabs. I'd like to think that people can reason it out. That may be the key of the framers thought; that we be tolerant enough to get along.

10:00 PM  
Blogger smays said...

"...the reverse 'can' be true?" Why not IS true. Tsk, tsk.

As to your point: Yes, people like to read views and opinions that mirror or support their own. But is that any less true in the off-line world? Will I find any "lefty" magazines in your bathroom? Don't think so.

Perhaps it's all thos links that connect similar view points that leaves this mistaken impression.

11:17 AM  
Blogger Randy Raley said...

The loss of common ground may destroy this country swifter than any outside force could. In today's political climate, if I disagree with you on one point, then I must disagree with you totally. I don't think it should be that cut and dried. In fact, I subscribe to stances on the right, the left and in the middle. I believe in capital punishment, but then I can't be pro life, correct? I think that as Jesus once said,.."what you do to the least, you also do to me and... blessed are the peacemakers" tend to take a liberal slant. Let's not stand across the abyss from each shouting, let's find a way to build a bridge and talk.

1:15 PM  

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