Are You a Technology Bubble Boy?

Technology Bubble BoyWhen Jerry Seinfeld built his classic episode around the Bubble Boy, he created a picture of a foul-tempered kid locked away inside a plastic environment. While some, including his parents, wanted him to interact with people, his time with George and Jerry proved he was better left alone. I mention this, because recent data appears to show that many an online user is a technology bubble boy. Maybe with the same temperament issues.

Tad Williams has published research that shows online users are moving more and more towards like-minded communities that block out dissenting or disagreeing voices. “Our challenge in the coming century will be to resist hiding in the comfort of these self-made bubbles, to remember that there will also be a growing number of other bubbles, large and small, and each one will contain people who feel just as strongly as we do about their own individuals truths, passions, and needs.” Conjures up the image of soap bubbles floating into the sky, always separate.

Williams goes on to state “we still need to hear what we don’t want to hear, sometimes from people we don’t like….as the old ways disappear, we humans need to find entirely new ways to be neighbors.”

His comments got me thinking about what kinds of content I consume. I try to spend at least 15% with media (articles, blogs, television, radio) with which I do not agree. I am increasingly trying to better understand the arguments, but more importantly the passions driving difference of opinions. Ultimately, solutions will not come from everyone agreeing with me (dictators have been trying that for centuries with usually bloody outcomes), but in reaching a middle ground.

How about you? How thick is your bubble? How often do you engage with other bubbles? I challenge you to try something new. Who knows, perhaps you’ll learn something.


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