Social Media Bubbles: Helpful or Harmful?

Most of us find ourselves in a position where we unfriend and unfollow people on social media, just because their views aren’t exactly like ours. If you are not one of these people or don’t have social media, then congratulations! Due to causing a lack of diversity, the potential to promote closed-minded thinking, keeping you in the dark about what’s going on around you, removing and unfollowing social media friends due to their views, and reinforcing your social media bubble can be harmful, believe it or not.

Reinforcing your social media bubble can cause your social media pages to lack diversity and show you a lot of very similar views, making it more difficult to understand how others think and feel.

“’Our brain constructs a model of the world from interactions with our environment. If all our interactions are one-sided, then our brain’s model will be biased,’ says Vaughn.”

Gould, 2019, para 13. Are You in a Social Media Bubble? Here’s how to Tell

When you are stuck in a social media bubble, you become accustomed to a certain way of thinking, and you begin to base your regular mindset on that specific way of thinking. When you constantly utilize that developed mindset, you lose most of your ability to see the good in things that you might not be very fond of or don’t see often.

Keeping your social media circle very limited can lead you to be closed-minded through mentally separating yourself from those with differing views.

“’My neuroscience research on empathy underscores the point that simple notions of ‘us’ and ‘them’ [affect] how our brain processes the pain of another.’”

Gould, 2019, para 14. Are You in a Social Media Bubble? Here’s how to Tell

When you view others differently due to a mental separation you created, it becomes more difficult to view them as your equals or to even empathize with them.

Social media bubbles tend to keep you in the dark about what’s going on in the world and around you because you typically only follow certain views and topics; it causes you to lose touch with reality.

“’Reinforcing our current feelings and thoughts makes us feel better”, says Strohman, “but when doing so we also lose the ability to elevate our ideas and collaborate on major issues that our nation is facing.’”

Gould, 2019, para 15. Are You in a Social Media Bubbe? Here’s how to Tell

Keeping yourself in a bubble shelters you from things around you. Take a presidential election, for example. If a large enough percentage of the country keeps themselves bubbled up, when it comes time to vote for our nation’s leader, you won’t really know what you’re even voting for. You may end up with a president whose views and morals are not a good fit for our country because you didn’t keep up with the presidential campaigns due to it not being something that interests you.

There are many ways to fall into a social media bubble, and it is a very easy thing to do. Though there may be some positive sides to it, finding yourself in a bubble can do more harm than you’d expect. It’s important to keep yourself aware of what’s going on in the world and open to others’ perspectives.

References:

Gould, Wendy Rose. (2019, October 21). Are you in a social media bubble? Here’s how to tell

NBCNews. https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/problem-social-media-reinforcement-bubbles-what-you-can-do-about-ncna1063896

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