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February 22 • 09:52 PM
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Dealing with social media's 'bubble effect'



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February 01, 2017
This week's letter to the editor regarding posts on an elected representative's Facebook page highlights the bubble effect that sometimes comes along with social media, where the content can be tailored to present an image for a specific audience of fans and followers; and an opinion/voice can be blocked, banned, or excluded without further dialogue or explanation.

Make no mistake. Everyone, including our elected officials, should have autonomy over their social media pages, and have every right to regulate and/or delete comments or posts that are threatening, vulgar, and inappropriate to the conversation. This is common practice in the news media as well, and it doesn't take much of a stretch to understand why. It is also subjective at times, and can lead to hard feelings by those who feel they've been silenced for no good reason, intentionally or not.

By its very design, social media is most commonly used as an avenue for like minded persons to share information and thoughts—and unless dissenters are allowed equal space and aren't in violation of posting rules—there can be an echo chamber effect. People who agree with a position or an opinion are likely to gravitate toward each other; the information shared can become limited in scope and unvaried.

With the onslaught of "fake news" that circulated during the 2016 presidential election—much of which was circulated online through social media—the bubble effect can become dangerous to democracy.

We urge taxpayers to explore all avenues of communication when it comes to being heard by elected officials. Send emails, write letters, make phone calls, post respectfully on social media sites, and let fellow citizens know the responses you've received via letters to the editor in local, state, and national news publications. Keep writing to us at tct@pageone-inc.com, or P.O. Box 278, Imlay City, MI 48444.

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Castle Creek
02 - 22 - 17
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