Information Bubbles

Things to Ponder..
This interesting article was reported on 10th of June 2016 and the headline read “The bubble and you” – published in Live Mint Post by Samar Halarnkar.
Coupled with social media, the thin wedge of glass and metal in your hand has made your world about you—your thoughts, your emotions, your friends, your photos, your life—and others like you. We know that people of the same views flock together online, give voice to their deepest prejudice, feed off each other’s prejudices and spread these emotions around. We also know that social media and the mobile phone tend to accentuate the negative and diminish the positive.

I found the most concise explanation in a 2015 book, The Psychology of Desire. In one chapter, psychologists Diana Tamir and Adrian Ward argue that our new behaviour is an outsize, simplistic manifestation of very old tribal instincts. “Our insatiable desire to connect with new media may be a product of social minds gone astray,” write Tamir and Ward. “Our social minds, from our most basic to our most advanced neurocognitive processes, encourage us to seek out social connection and enable us to succeed in achieving our social goals. New media offer simple solutions to complex social needs.”

In December 2015, one of the largest empirical analysis of online news-seeking behaviour compared news found on search engines and social media and found that those who get their news from social media are at higher risk of living in “information bubbles”. The people in these “bubbles” collect information from a narrower range of sources on social media than those who do from search engines, said the study—which analysed more than 100 million Web clicks and 1.3 billion social-media posts—published in PeerJ Computer Science, an open-access journal. In other words, people who use social media increasingly get information not by themselves but from people like themselves.

Given the avalanche of information arriving on our screens 24/7/365, it is not surprising that such bubbles have become coping mechanisms. But this growing bubble-isation of news and information—garnered from tweets, Facebook posts and WhatsApp forwards—makes for a limited, often distorted, view of an increasingly complex world. Mobile phones can simulate human interaction but their ability to stimulate such communication is limited and poor replacement for face-to-face conversation. Social media create a reality that is often, well, not real, and the PUMP (problematic use of mobile phones) rises when we try to “de-stress” by staying online.

The PUMP is particularly true for adolescents who love their smartphones so much that they believe life will pass them by if they switch off. Those who did use social media at night tended to sleep poorly and display symptoms of depression. How you use social media could be a predictor of your personality and analyses of offline and online behaviour could provide clues to how your brain works. For instance, people devote a third of “offline”, or face-to-face, conversations to talking about themselves; online, 80% of their posts are about themselves and they tend to be far less polite that they would be in person.
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– Samar Halarnkar