Our generation is full of new voters. Millennials are now making large differences in voting records. Why is this? Part of the reasons as to why young people are starting to take notice to these elections is because of media- on Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and tons of other platforms we are told to vote.

This raises an important question- how has technology and media changed our politics, elections and voting? This unbiased approach will explore one particular way that our technology has changed our society, perhaps the one that most of us haven’t even realized.

Beto O’Rourke- a Democratic candidate running for Senate in the 2018 midterms using Twitter to speak to his audience
pc: Nathan Hare

I’m sure many media users have noticed that on YouTube we have tons of recommended videos, all tailored to our personal taste. On Twitter, there are suggested tweets and other suggested accounts that are listed because they are similar to what we already view and they are accounts we might be interested in. Facebook filters out posts that we might not like, and only shows us what we enjoy seeing.

There are benefits to this sort of filtering, I’m sure. People enjoy finding more of what they like– but what might this be doing to our politics in our country? And therefore our elections?

The problem with this filtering is that it is limiting our knowledge and excluding other views from being exposed to us. Of course, you can google information if you’re actually curious to see a broad range of political information, but this invisible filtering could definitely have an affect on anybody who only sticks to their recommended views. This could make us blind to other efficient ideas that could prevent problems. This could exclude innovation or caution to problems we might be approaching but can’t see.

President Trump’s twitter – one of the main platforms he uses to speak to his audience
pc: Nathan Hare

The filtering affects American politics in an immediate way, but even on an international level we filter out worldly views. We could be filtering out other ideas that could drastically change our society in our country and we really would have no idea because of this individual world our media can create for us.

Suggested videos are helpful and beneficial, but this filtering can also be harmful. It might be time to take a step back and see how our tools our shaping us and our knowledge. Our knowledge leads to our action in our elections. The new media awareness for politics, voting and election status is accessible and advantageous for information spreading, but with this new accessibility we must evaluate how are media and technology might be forming us, and in this case might be forming our own worlds online, separate from the benefits of a variety of ideas.

Here are links to two professional speaking about this filtering if you would like to read more: Pariser and Zuckerman.

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