Posted by: Paul | 04/20/2010

Information Underload

Amid all the upsides to the Internet Age, I’ve noted a downside: the tendency to self-balkanize. All of us, whether liberal or conservative, naturally gravitate toward other like-minded individuals, and away from those we disagree with. 

New York Times columnist David Brooks today highlights a new study that suggests matters may not be quite so simple. Yes, we prefer to stick with the tried and true, but we wander around a bit more than previously thought.

What we do with the information — if we’re truly trying to challenge our worldview, or just looking for something to fight and/or lampoon — is another matter. As Brooks concludes, “If this study is correct, the Internet will not produce a cocooned public square, but a free-wheeling multilayered Mad Max public square.”

Either way, it’s best to break out of those cocoons. Exposure to views we don’t share is healthy.


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