Does social media allow us to become more polarized? It certainly allows us to socialize with the people we choose independent of where they are on the planet at any given time. I’m 33 years old and therefore I remember I was just a high school student when the Internet really became a viable tool for every day use in people’s homes and schools. At that time in a dormitory, apartment building, or neighborhood it was still common to make friends and socialize and get to know the people around your regardless of political differences that you have with them or even some social characteristics they have that may not match your own. These days it’s possible to avoid so many people that are around you every day because you can stay connected to other people so easily. I read research that shows people have a sort of maximum number of people who they can keep in their social life. If are keeping more people in our online social life probably keeping fewer people in our day to day real face-to-face interaction life.
I would argue that being forced to socialize with those people in our day-to-day real face-to-face life forced us to accept different political views and different types of people just because we’re forced to interact with them. We would therefore be less polarized in our view of the world and our opinion about the direction for society. As we are now able to select people to socialize with much more carefully through social media on the Internet our society in fact becomes more polarized.