I have often argued that one of the reasons that Americans have become increasingly partisan over the past several decades has a lot to do with the end of military conscription. No longer are Americans from different backgrounds, races, geographic areas, and religions compelled to spend long periods together in tough, stressful conditions, and overcoming obstacles by forming cohesive teams.
Now, Eli Pariser, a liberal of MoveOn.org fame, has offered another compelling reason why Americans are slowly drifting into separate camps. He discusses it in his TED Talk above as well as in his new book, The Filter Bubble.
As social media like Facebook and search engines like Google increasingly customize users’ experiences so that companies can better market to them, they are creating reality bubbles. The more I click on right-leaning articles on my Facebook wall, the fewer left-leaning articles appear.
Without knowing it, my reality slowly becomes warped.
Pariser is definitely on to something and I look forward to reading his book.