The University of Massachusetts Amherst

A Call to Action: Bursting your Filter Bubble

A community of people at a park

While UMass may tend to have a majority opinion for some political perspectives, the rest of the nation is deeply polarized. The country has historically split into a system of opposing parties, but today’s political climate is particularly harsh with blatant divided opinions. With technological advances, open social media platforms, and bold party figureheads, citizens may be finding information easier and clinging to their beliefs.

While the world may be more interconnected due to the technological and social developments, there is also a surplus in information. This has a lot of positives: Individuals can gain more perspectives, share their voice, and seek out truth with ease. However, this is often a difficult balance as the verification of truth has never required so much effort.

With the rise of countless blogs and news sources within close reach online, individuals are overwhelmed with options for what to believe. However, even with more information access, they often uphold and favor their preexisting beliefs—a tendency known as a “confirmation bias.”

Confirmation bias often defies logic. Even though one might have access to statistics and verified studies, it is human nature to find flaws in these facts if they counter a previous belief. Because of this reaction, combined with a surplus of online information, people tend to create filter bubbles or belief systems that isolate one’s views with matching perspectives.

As facts may be ignored, these filter bubbles are often dangerous when discussing contentious policies or movements within the country. Although confirmation biases may arise as a form of human nature, there is hope for avoiding them.

To recognize social issues and encourage change, these biases must be acknowledged. Individuals must learn to actually listen to opposing beliefs, engage in constructive conversation, and work toward solutions.

There is a lot of injustice—both on campus and throughout the world. Whether it’s income inequality and racism, or “fake news” and filter bubbles, these are issues within our society.

However, among these problems are also activist movements, honest politicians, and average individuals working to fight them.

This blog will look at various issues and calls to action. While there may be large-scale problems, change may start to occur with more conversations, awareness, and questions about them. As more individuals connect and embrace opposing beliefs, the nation can regain trust and push toward social improvement.