The Web: Door or Cocoon?

The internet provides people with all sorts of information at their fingertips, and they are able to reach anything they want whenever they feel like it. It seems like a good thing but people don’t always take full advantage of what is given to them. Cass Sunstien, a Harvard professor, has written about how internet can facilitate extremist views by allowing people to form bubbles of similarly like-minded views around them without exposing themselves to alternative viewpoints. The same phenomenon occurs off the web as well. Sunstien preformed an experiment where a bunch of liberal got together for a day-long conference and discussed politics. He also hosted a conference for conservatives. At the end of day the liberals were more liberal while the conservatives were more conservative. The web intensifies this trend even further. Extremist blogs have links to other extremist blogs and sites. This has a splitting effect where people rarely “cross over” to see what the other side has to say. The web certainly has the potential expose all viewpoints to everyone, everyone just needs to be listening.

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