Imagine you are scrolling through your newsfeed and see a post you perceive it to be untrue or too biased. You simply hit the “unfollow” or “hide post” and bang, it is gone. Based on these reactions, Facebook’s algorithm learns what you like and dislike seeing, starting adapting the contents you receive to your unique interests. You then have the illusion of having this sense of belonging to individuals who share similar purposes.
The flipside of receiving news targeted to your views is that you might narrow yourself into an oversimplified world, overlooking the complexity of facts, of real human existence. It makes us stay within the comfort zone of our biased ideological views, rather than encouraging to potential renewal through the discovery of different, and perhaps better ideas. We become more radical, shutting down people or ignoring ideas that do not conform to our worldview.
Each one of us has this desire of belonging to a community, but the problem is we want to do it only with people who agree with us about certain ideas or who share certain interests. And this kind of compartmentalized universe tends to divorce us from ourselves and from those around us. It prevents us from achieving something both truly universal and accommodating of our particularity as distinct persons.
Artwork courtesy of FRG Gallery