As Teresa has pointed out in the past, social media can sometimes narrow our perspectives and reduce our interactions with views that may not exactly line up with our own. But with so many options available to find information, it can be challenging to navigate how to source news from a different angle.
So, I’ve been keeping my eye on different opportunities to do just that—to move beyond my social media bubble and go-to news sources in a legitimate way and to see what else is out there. It looks I’m not the only one looking to do this, either. Some major news outlets have started to offer dedicated website space to collecting opposing thoughts on hot topics.
Buzzfeed’s Outside Your Bubble is a recently started experiment aimed to bring a “diversity of thought and opinion from around the internet.” It doesn’t appear on every news story, but it’s available on widely shared articles and topics (like immigration, for example). After reading an article, you have an option at the bottom to read a few statements with differing stances on the subject. These are pulled from various social media platforms and don’t really offer much beside a short opinion—there’s no background information about the person posting the opinion (only their social media identifier), no link to resources they’re using to form their opinion, no opposing article to follow up with.
In terms of getting a pulse on myriad counterpoints, it’s doing a fine job of cutting through the deluge of posts to bring a general sense of top arguments. In terms of providing substantial information on those counterpoints, though, it’s lacking.
The Our Picks section of the New York Times does a more thorough job of combing through and curating partisan articles. There’s a quick description and links to both an author bio and the article. The range of outlets from which it pulls pieces is also worth noting. Truthfully, I don’t think I visited many of the outlets listed until I started using this resource. It’s a good starting point to hear from various perspectives that may not align with your own (and you don’t have to wade through internet sludge on your own to find them). Plus, after they give you the must-reads from the left and the right, they often post a round-up of great stories that have nothing to do with politics.
Although I sometimes feel like using these resources is a Choose Your Own Adventure story for the news—which opinion suits you best?—I do think the exposure to worthwhile articles is essential.
I’m all in favor of engaging with different viewpoints; expanding your horizons and going beyond your news bubble can offer clarity, context, and even important lessons in civility and empathy. It is increasingly important that we all make an effort to burst our bubbles and see what lies beyond our comfort zones.
If you have any other suggestions for resources that help you move beyond your own viewpoint with the latest news, please share!