I spend much of my time at work drowning my ears in podcasts. I like my mind to be busy while my hands are busy packing wheel bearings, inspecting control cables and changing engine components (that stuff gets boring after a while). I mostly listen to political shows, news, history and some entertainment thrown in there as well. Oddly enough, an entertainment podcast totally changed the way I look for and consume information. Particularly when it comes to news, politics and social issues.
The host of the podcast was talking about what we see in our Facebook newsfeed, twitter feeds, any kind of social media outlet. We see only what we want to see.
As we scroll through our newsfeed in the morning we “like” posts. Posts we agree with, posts that make us happy and all fuzzy inside, posts that make us laugh and post that dont offend us. Those likes affect what comes up on our page. I get suggested posts all the time from stuff that I liked or clicked on. Here is the point.
At some point in all our liking and blocking (yes I have blocked certain things from coming up on my page. Most people probably have.) we can drown out the opposite view point to where we are completely out of touch with others and their reality. We only see posts from people we agree with and what makes us feel comfortable in our already established opinion. There is no daily opposition to our view point and so therefore when we encounter it we cant handle it. We can’t imagine how in the world someone could hold a different opinion from our own. Its very easy. They liked different posts on there news feed, had different parents then you and have had different life experiences.
The podcasts host explained all this better then I think I just did but that’s my summary. It impacted my thinking and I did something about it. What? You may ask… Well I downloaded more podcasts and followed more people on twitter…
I followed Milo and The Young Turks. I followed Fox News and CNN. I subscribed to Ben Shapiro and Dave Rubin. I followed our President and our President elect. And let me tell you… I get so much conflicting information sometimes I question if anyone truly knows whats true and whats going on in our society.
So what I have decided is this. The information coming at me is divided up into information that has a little truth, some truth, a lot of truth and all truth. But I have to be able to make an educated choice on whats what. If your only getting information on one side of an issue its impossible to make an educated decision about whats true and whats not.
My point in this little rant is not to sway anyone to a specific mind set or ideology. Its to make the point that in order to think for our selves in an educated way we need to be exposed to different thoughts, mind sets, experiences and facts that we may not like. I do not agree 100% or even 75% percent with any of the people or news organizations I listed above. But I do know what they are talking about, what their opinion is and some even list their sources which I can double check for myself. I know I can confidently make a choice on what to believe and think since I have a pretty good grip on both sides of whatever issue might be at hand.
Its much better for two people to be able to have a discussion about social issues that goes something like “I can see where you are coming from and I know that (insert fact that they agree with and are bringing up) is a concern or positive but we should also take into consideration (insert other fact).” Then to have 2 people yelling left or right wing propaganda at each other from across the room when neither has no idea what the other is talking about much less where the information came from.
There are always 2 sides (or 3 or 10) and we need to know what the other side is in order to adequately discuss and solve problems.