many of us Remember the feeling of running into a museum as a child, being inspired by the expansive space and the seemingly limitless possibility of finding that humble dinosaur or fish, or whatever brought us there. No matter how many times we visited, it was impressive to see a bright red “you are here” sticker on the huge museum map. It even helped us discover new exhibits or other places we might have overlooked. A museum is a vast space, but a map is always there to help us orient ourselves, orient ourselves in relation to our surroundings, and ultimately navigate to a constructive place (for the most part) without getting lost.
Today, most of our time is spent in an extremely large and complex environment: the Internet. However, most of us know very little about its scope, topology, dimensions, or parts of it that we have and have not visited.We’re in it and we don’t know Where. because Thousands of birds gather, We often get stuck with others who share our political, social and cultural experiences and beliefs. This is natural, and often valuable: creating shared spaces fosters belonging, mutual solidarity, support, and even prevents “tyranny of the majority.”
But divisions are increasingly the result of deliberate design: segregationists who are afraid of changing the status quo, or those who create conflict. When we’re in a bubble – say, a group of friends online talking about a particular issue, or “filter bubbles“created by content recommender systems – our views may be influenced by our most immediate local context. Even if we occasionally reach out to people from different bubbles, these interactions may only provide insight into who they are and what they value A superficial view of – via The prism of social media, which often reward performance and attention-seeking behavior.Our contact with others is primarily filtered through social media platforms or our own norms moral intuition Too long – or no contact at all – means we risk losing our intellectual humilitycultivate the belief that we are in center of the universe And our own ways of knowing are the only ones that have value. When this happens, anything we say or share—no matter how harmful or toxic—is considered legitimate because it serves a particularly valuable ideology. As we slide, our social ignorance has the potential to transform into social arrogance.
What buffers can we take to avoid this fate? Beloved your map here might be helpful. Research we conducted with colleagues Showing that reflective data visualizations designed to show people which social network communities they are embedded in may make them more aware of fragmentation in the online web—and in some cases prompt them to focus on a more diverse set of accounts.These diverse and sustained exposures are critical to improving public discourse: while forced or orchestrated exposure of different viewpoints may sometimes Exacerbating ideological polarizationif after careful consideration they can reduce emotional polarization (How much we dislike “the other” simply because we think they belong to a different team).
This”social mirrorThe project we developed with Ann Yuan, Martin Saveski and Soroush Vosoughi presents an example of a “you are here” map. The first step in creating a map involves defining the “space” it should describe. For museums, defining the space It’s easy; for public discourse on the internet, it’s not always clear what you’re trying to map of. Our spaces represent socio-political connections on Twitter, hoping to help people imagine the “echo chambers” they’re embedded in and then navigate to more politically diverse discussion networks on the platform. To this end, we developed a network visualization where nodes represent Twitter accounts, links between nodes indicate that these accounts follow each other, and colors represent political ideology (blue = left-leaning; red = right-leaning). Participants representing one of the depicted accounts are invited to explore the map.
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