February 15, 2017
My friends might have noticed social posts from me regarding politics drop off in the new year, but it’s not what they think. I’m not simply “moving on” — I’m just no longer talking to them.
After the election, a lot of attention was focused on Facebook’s role as an echo chamber. Thanks to algorithms, the site silos us into like-minded users, showing us only what we want to see. Only what we like. By some estimates, 60 percent of millennials receive their news primarily from Facebook, which means this is a huge problem. Instead of creating a well-connected world where you can easily be exposed to diverse news and opinions, we’re seeing more of the same.
I’m embarrassed to admit I didn’t notice this before, or think about it. But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. And I’m acutely aware that anything I post is unlikely to reach anyone who doesn’t already agree, which isn’t really going to move the needle. As a result, I’m preparing to go outside my comfort zone, and finding new ways to get involved.
Yesterday, I called the offices of my state representative and state senator, and made appointments with each of them. Later this month, I’ll be swinging by their offices for 15-minute face-to-face meetings. As a constituent, I’ll be able to share what’s important to me and why, ask where they stand on the issue(s), and ask for their support.
I’m quite anxious about these meetings, and had a bunch of questions before I had the guts to pick up the phone. I’m on the Board of Directors for The Arc Greater Twin Cities, and was lucky to have a public policy expert guide me through the process.
For those who might be interested in doing the same, here’s some tips I picked up.
I’ll be at the Capitol on Tuesday, February 28 for Disability Matters Day. Maybe I’ll see you around!