scroll through your timelines before reading this
Well, what did you notice? If you’re like me, or like most of the users online, your timelines are crowded with people like you. Similarities shared may be:
- sports/ sport teams
- financial background
So whats the issue?
The issue is we are encircled only by those who share the same views we have, or those who allow the friend groups to be “racially and economically homogenous” (Boyd 304). In Danah Boyd’s “Inequality: Can Social Media Resolve Social Divisions” Boyd makes the argument that though the web is meant to connect people who wouldn’t normally be able to connect in reality, the web has maintained those barriers instead.
Let’s take me for example. I’d say that the catholic high school I went to in the Upper East Side of Manhattan was about 80-85% white. (Although that number is decreasing since the need to “diversify” propped up). Being of a mixed background – german and dominican – I felt like I didn’t have to choose a side. I thought maybe I’d just deal with both crowds. But life and all of its social constructs was like:
Like the kids in Boyd’s selection, I had to choose – and I had to choose to identify which background I was “more” of. To the white girls (my school was all girls) I was not and would never be “white enough.” So I joined the Latina’s. This choice reflected on my social media. My friends on social media were those similar to me. I didn’t feel the need to connect to the white girls simply because we weren’t alike. There was this division, and social media only heightened it.
I used that block button on Instagram and Twitter frequently, actually. Just to stay away from those who weren’t “like” me.
So, if we only surround ourselves on social media who look, act, and talk like us – what does that say about what we decide to write and post on social media?
In John Duffy’s “Writing Involves Making Ethical Choices” he points out that writing is a way of forming a human relationship with others. You think about your audience, and the point you are trying to prove.
If we had more people who weren’t like us on social media we’d be a lot more aware of the things we post and write because we would be sharing “human values and virtues’ (Duffy 32) in order to connect to people who might not share the same.
But because we are blocked off, and have chosen to segregate ourselves in the virtual world, we don’t have to think before writing something online – because we instantly know that the people that are “like” us are going to accept our writing.