Sam Novey / May 1st, 2011 / Tweet
We don’t just live in online filter bubbles. Increasingly, Americans are surrounded by people who have the same tastes, lifestyles, and political opinions as they do.
Bill Bishop and Robert Cushing call this “The Big Sort.” In 1976, just 26.8% of Americans lived in a “Landslide County” where one presidential candidate won the county by more than 20%. By 2004, however, 48.3% of Americans lived in Landslide Counties.
(landslide counties are shaded in)
This is the context for the filter bubble. The algorithmic personalization of our information diets is occurring at a time when Americans are much less likely to interact with people who have different opinions from them than they were in the past.
Right now, personalization algorithms amplify this trend. But with some creativity, courage, and intentionality, it is possible that one day soon they could be a healthy counterweight.