Thursday, September 3, 2015

Social Media and the Veil of Confirmation

"How can you possibly think that's true?"

That is the second most common question that comes to mind when reviewing my Facebook feed after "Aw, cute baby".  How can you possibly have bought into that bit of fear-mongering?  How can you possibly have weighed the facts and reached that conclusion?  How can you possibly have such a different world-view than myself?

It is that last question that turns the inquiry in reverse.  How can I possibly think that way?  What opinions have I accepted as unimpeachable truths without scrutiny?  What news makes me comfortable?  What news makes me uncomfortable?  How do I leave myself open to conversation and conversion after staking out a position?  Am I using more question marks than exclamation points?

During my blogging sabbatical, I've been thinking about these things a great deal.  I had a great discussions of "Politics in a Pub" last week with a number of people with differing views and was reminded of how much fun it is to disagree respectfully with an interest in understanding one another.

Next Wednesday, September 9, the Howard County Library will be hosting a Choose Civility "Happy Hour Power Up" at the Rumor Mill addressing Social Media and how it affects our consumption of news, our interpretation of current events, and our political beliefs.  Here's a summation from the Facebook event page:
At our Happy Hour edition Power Up, Tom Coale will speak about how social media has affected our individual and collective news filters, and how trends in social media have led to a personalization of our news feeds. How has social media changed what we accept as "truth"? What stories are we being sold and what stories are we missing? Join us in this conversation. 
I facilitated a similar discussion in 2013 with Sheilah Kast addressing "Civility in the Media", which, thanks to those who participated, was one of the most enjoyable, enlightening, and far-reaching round-table discussions I have ever participated in.

You, reader of this blog, really should do your best to attend next Wednesday.  You are the type of person who would likely enjoy and feel enriched by this kind of discussion.  The event is free to attend and will include appetizers from The Rumor Mill (one of my favorite restaurants in Howard County).  Tickets are limited, so if you plan to attend please reserve your seat today.  There are only 9 tickets left! ONLY 6 tickets left!

Have a great Thursday doing what you love!