These days, we all tend to live in self-amplifying bubbles. We have opinions and world views, and the shows we watch and (God forbid!) the books we read, unless we are that rare breed of “open-minded, yet discriminating” folk, tend to reinforce those opinions. Facebook pretty much acts as a further enabler in this isolationism. I know many who have defriended those with opposing views. I personally try to keep many separate viewpoints in my FB universe (and this has not always led to pleasant exchanges 🙂 ), but the workings of FB itself seems to keep like-minded postings in my feed. Or else the unlike-minded simply post less, which is doubtful.
But even with my “big tent” philosophy of FB frienddom, I’m still living in a bubble. Not necessarily of political and philosophical and religious homogeneity, but rather one of cogitation and involvement and attention. I watched Obama’s final State Of The Union speechon Tuesday. I know a great many in my FB universe also watched, and with varying responses and reactions. BUT THEY WATCHED. Agreeing or not. Just like I used to do with W.
The point is, I can thus be fooled into thinking that a great many Americans watched. My FB universe skews me to that perception. But I expect the reality is quite a bit different. Instead, to the extent that many even care, they will get their SOTU fed in sound bites and talking head recaps, all patently guaranteed to continue to reinforce whatever world view they’ve “chosen”. FOX and MSNBC and CNN, etc., will condense and regurgitate whatever editorial emphasis has been agreed on.
But I fear that, for the much wider population, even those outlets will be ignored. Facebook leads me to the perception that most Americans are engaged and care and try to stay informed. The truth is probably much closer to the majority staying informed mainly on Kardashians and the NFL playoffs.
Jefferson would be distressed, don’t you think?
© 2016 Chuck Puckett