Tools for Bursting Your Filter Bubble
In the wake of recent election surprises in the US and UK, many people have realized that they’ve been living in bubbles—and they want to get out. Here are some tools to help!
Step 1: Balance Your News Diet
Is your Facebook feed filled with news from outlets that skew toward your pre-existing political bias? Balance it out with some news from the other side.
Instead of showing you just one perspective, AllSides combs the web and presents three perspectives (left/right/center) on an issue or news story. AllSides also has a crowdsourced dictionary that shows how some hot-button political terms are used across the political spectrum.
Read Across The Aisle
Get reminders to read news from both side in this iPhone and iPad app (which I’m building). The app categorizes each news source according to its political leaning, and it shows you your own overall “score” so that you can see how your media choices may be affecting your opinions on political issues. This app will be available for beta in early February and will be launched in late February. If you’re interested in nominating or voting on which news sources will be included, you can participate in the Kickstarter.
Get an email newsletter with news from both sides! Each newsletter contains a few pairs of articles, so you can see how single events are being described and portrayed on both sides of the media.
Echo Chamber Club
Likewise, Echo Chamber Club is a UK-based newsletter sends out weekly newsletters to help liberal readers who want to get a view from the other side.
Escape Your Bubble
This Chrome extension inserts news into your Facebook News Feed, with the goal of helping you to learn more about, and better empathize with, other people. You can tell it what types of people you’d like to learn more about, and it will use that profile when deciding what to insert in your News Feed.
Get tweets from outside of your filter bubble by following @rand_o_card on Twitter. New tweets are sent every 15 minutes, and they are randomly drawn from either the right or the left. Links are obfuscated so you can’t tell in advance which side the link is from. There’s also a UK-specific version!
Step 2: Learn How To Have Better Political Conversations
Now that you’ve balanced your news diet, check out these insightful TED talks to find out how to frame political discussions in a way that makes your conversations more civil and more productive:
Step 3: Engage With Others
Ready to have some conversations? Check out these platforms for engaging with people in-person and online.
The web-based EchoRemix platform lets you have real-time, anonymous, 1-to-1 conversations about important political issues. Since it’s all online, it’s convenient to access. I have personally had several high-quality conversations with people from across the US. It’s a great way to try out some of the moral reframing techniques discussed in the TED talks above!
Help bring accountability to misleading or fake news with Fiskkit! You can tag inaccuracies, omissions, or biases in news articles, which are then compiled with other readers’ tags to develop an overall score for each article. This is a great way to combat both fake news and biased news. Be part of the solution!
Hi From The Other Side
Like EchoRemix, HiFromTheOtherSide matches you up with people for the purpose of discussing important social or political issues. Hi From The Other Side connects people who supported different candidates during the election for one-on-one conversations. When they match you, they also provide a handy conversation guide to help you get off on the right foot.
Do you know of another tool for bursting filter bubbles? Let me know! Tweet @nicklum and I’ll add it to the list. Please share this post with your friends, so we can reduce political polarization and have more civil and productive conversations.
About The Author
Nick Lum is a recovering lawyer living in Silicon Valley. He is the creator of Read Across the Aisle, an app designed to help people break out of their filter bubbles. Read Across the Aisle has been featured on BBC and in Fast Company, Philly.com, and other publications.