We all witness our world becoming more diverse. There is a fragmentation in everything: lifestyles, politics, marketing, media, literature, music, fashion, cultures… And in parallel, the content being created each second is enormous. We watch those internet statistics videos about how many videos are being uploaded on YouTube every second with awe, out mouths water when we open Netflix and see how many options we have… It is like witnessing a meiosis of content and creativity: People have so much to share that will make us feel that the whole world is more accessible, more entertaining, more informative, more familiar, wiser, beautiful, infinite…
However, “limited resources and unlimited wants” theory wakes us from our dreams and reminds us that on a micro level, none of us have the time to consume all those content and be in all conversations. Briefly we are neither omni-content not omni-present.
Since our time is limited, no matter how smart our phones are we have to be choiceful. So what does it mean? What happens when you begin to refine the internet of things that you are exposed to?
Let’s play a little game. Go to Facebook and visit this page of Republican National Committee. Check the comments and choose a pal that you find rather passionate and go to her/his page. I assume that it would be proudly open to public and (s)he would be very confident about her/his point of view. Now, please imagine that this person is a newspaper editor and the things on her/his page is the content of a daily newspaper. The headlines, the messages, all those sentiments… Maybe a little biased, nothing objective… Right? Now please go back again to this Democratic Party, do the same thing. Find an entertaining fellow and follow her/him to her/his page. Imagine it as a newspaper… So can you think of a reason that would make a Republican reading that daily Republican “newspaper” change her/his opinion about Trump? Therefore there is still a tight race between Clinton and Trump. The people are not dumb, they just have just started to create their own reality. It is not that complicated.
This might seem like an extreme example, then think about the Facebook people around you, and see if their pages have some diversity. Think about your own wall, and try to remember the profiles you unfollowed and try to remember why you did so… You get the point.
No matter how 3D everything is, as primal human beings we do not prefer to perceive things as multi dimensional. On a perceptual basis, things are on a 1D scale: either right or wrong, good or bad, black or white, left or right, zero or one, conservative or liberal, old or young, beautiful or ugly, traditional or modern, us and them… In any argument or debate, we like to stick to one side and prefer be exposed to the messages assuring our side of the dichotomy. And this micro behavioural pattern leads to a social behaviour. Here you can read how and why we evaluate information’s credibility. So as you may expect, if we agree with the information, we perceive it as right. It is easy. Think about it: I am right, and whoever or whatever agrees with me is right as well. Others are just wrong. And therefore bad. And therefore ugly. Why bother with them! Simple as that! The formula of heaven on earth!
So back to my point, I guess all of us tend to turn on the content flow that supports our belief system and mute the ones that don’t. So can we still talk about diversity, richness or wide perspective?
Just 8 years ago, when Obama was first elected, we read about how brilliant their Social Media strategy was in terms of using influencers. Those were the times that social networks were more exclusive to opinion leaders and the people were more open to follow popular topics from them. And more than that newspapers were popular, TV networks were popular. It is the year of Wall-E, we were still watching Lost, Phelps became famous in Beijing Olympics… Most of the people were still consuming the same content. However, after 8 years, Brexit showed us that Social Media is far way fragmented now to help us develop an objective point of view. Every point of view develops its own closed network of content and entertainment and they are not consuming others’ content.
So the social networks have lost their power to change our minds or make us see the reality. Now they are there only to connect us with the like-minded people. Hear and enjoy only ourselves, but hear no others. Twitter is dying while Snapchat helps us to see many interesting faces of our own self. Look how cute we are! We need no strangers in da house!
That is the new era of closed circles. Because we neither have the time nor the willingness to interfere with people that do not reassure our way of thinking. We do not trust them, we do not like them. And we are very very happy in our own little like-minded planet.
Popularity changed its form. Communication became short-ranged. Maybe only cat videos can accomplish an intergalactic journey.