Polarization and Push or Pull

Great food for thought in @gsiemens and @realdlnorman’s exchange. So why can’t media be like a conversation? What makes the internet a “polarization factory” of ‘us vs. them’?

I think the problem is that is has turned too much towards ‘push’ media, and that these are prone to scale-free effects, with their potentially unlimited reach. Each statement uttered in this environment, is soon understood as advocating for a cause or for a political strand, because everyone seems to expect that their tweet may go viral, because that is how the platforms work. Then a differentiated statement can be ripped out of its context, and the ‘yes, but’ is distorted to just ‘no’.

By contrast, ‘pull’ media such as the comment section of a personal blog, resemble the conversation that George describes. The visitor on the blogger’s ‘front porch’ has bothered to come there, and sees the context and the background of a position.

(And yes, I will have to ‘push’ this URL out on Twitter, because RSS is almost dead. So there is no ‘them’ who I can blame for the “polarization factory”; it’s all of ‘us’ who operate it.)

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3 Responses to Polarization and Push or Pull

  1. I’m still living in the world of pull… 🙂

  2. jennymackness says:

    Hi Matthias – I would think we need a balance between push and pull. Too much ‘pull’ could equally create its own set of problems, e.g. the promotion of rich or super-rich nodes that Ulises Mejias writes about in ‘Off the Network’ – which in turn could exacerbate issues around inclusion/exclusion. Mejias also discusses the polarization issue raised by George and which you comment on.
    Here’s a link to Mejias’ writing in case you don’t already have it – https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/pdf/off-the-network

  3. x28 says:

    Many thanks for the discussion ! The link is new to me and I will follow it.

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