16 Nov 2007

We’ve got to stop agreeing with ourselves

If it's not iTunes or Amazon, then it's MoveOn or Facebook. It seems that everywhere I go on the internet, I am having something recommended to me by someone I completely agree with.

Michael Oreskes, executive editor of the International Herald Tribune, said during a recent panel discussion that he is worried the internet is too focused on bringing like-minded people together. “Democracy is a system for resolving conflicts. For it to work, people need to talk to people not like them,” he said.

Previously, media had a monopoly on reaching audiences and it was the job of journalists to present both sides of a story. Now, with Web 2.0, the audiences are talking among themselves but most of them are getting information from blogs or e-business sites that they are already 100 percent in agreement with.

One way to change this trend is to actively go out and search for networks that have opinions and interests completely different from your own.

Instead of using Facebook, try Hi5, a social network of 50 million with members mainly in Central America and Asia. Surf without reason using Web Autopilot, a site that sends you a random URL every 12 seconds, or any other timeframe you choose. Or just disconnect and have a conversation with a random person on the subway.


Give it a try. Broaden your mind.



/David

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree :)

Anonymous said...

You've made an interesting point that seems to be lost in the 2.0 conversation. But social networking is inherently about connecting like-minded people, sharing specific information or finding hands-on tips.

CJG blog team said...

Thank for the comment - it the first one I have ever responded to.

I agree that social networking is a fantastic tool for bringing like-minded people together, but if the internet is going to encourage free thinking and diversity then more than just like-minded people need to talk to each other. No Burmesse monks were saved on Facebook's Save the Monks group. Nobody there was talking to the other side - e.g. the oppressors. Progress only occurs when opposing sides join each other in a conversation.

Colm said...

Though in Sweden, hundreds of thousands joined a mass rally against street violence and it all began from a Facebook group in the days after a teenager was beaten to death. Likeminded people they were but on this occasion, that amount of likeminded people made an impact so large that it manifested itself in a demonstration that took over one of Stockholm's central squares. Progress occurred and like minded people joined the conversation.