#President Obama delivered a heartfelt and inspiring farewell address on Tuesday, January 10. While he covered many topics ranging from his accomplishments in office to stating that he stands with Muslim Americans, he also covered a persisting problem with American citizens today – that we form our own bubbles around what we believe in, and only accept news and opinions from those bubbles, whether or not they are factual. Obama stated, "For too many of us, it's become safer to retreat into our own bubbles, whether in our neighborhoods or college campuses of places of worship or our #social media feeds, surrounded by people who look like us and share the same political outlook and never challenge our assumptions.".
The problem with social media
President Obama is right, and while this problem was most evident during the election season, it still continues as we begin our transition to a new president. People discuss politics with their friends, who are often from the same socio-economic background, and often have similar views. They turn on the T.V. to the same news station every day. One of the most striking examples, however, is that of social media. Here, it is not only easy to share information based on your beliefs, but also wrong information. I believe there is a correlation in the way we share information in this age and the growing divide of America.
Don't always trust the source
While most people can agree that we get our news from a biased source, no one wants to admit that their source is the wrong one. They may admit it can be a little left or right leaning, but believe that's okay if that is the source with facts. However, often times people become so trusting of their sources because it's what they believe that they don't check if the information is correct.
There's a mentality of if that sounds good to them, they will accept it as fact, without consulting other sources.
I don't expect everyone to go out and change their feeds to reflect all views. After all, that's part of what's great about social media, that we can cater it to our wants and needs. But I do urge everyone to do their research, to every once in a while break out of their bubble and hear someone else's viewpoint, especially someone who's background and lived experience is different from yours.
More importantly, if you are sharing any information, check your sources, make sure all the facts are right, not just nice to hear. Because as President Obama said, this trend of sorting ourselves is a threat to our democracy. To sum it up, as President Obama stated, "It's not just dishonest, this selective sorting of facts; it's self-defeating. Because as my mother used to tell me, reality has a way of catching up with you."