Ever since the election of Donald Trump, we’ve been hearing about it. The social media bubble–that cavernous echo chamber we all live in that turns our Facebook and Twitter feeds into a loop of similar opinions and views. The New York Times, Wired, New York mag — they’ve all told us about it, warned us about it, scientists have argued about it. Now Kind Snacks’ Kind Foundation has created Pop Your Bubble, a Facebook app to get people interacting with others who have different opinions on politics and society.
Kind CEO and founder David Lubetzky says the inspiration behind the new campaign is personal. “My dad was a Holocaust survivor. I’ve made it my life’s work to build bridges between people to help prevent what happened to him from happening again to others,” says Lubetzky. “This initiative is one manifestation of that commitment. We know echo chambers are a problem. Too often, social media reinforces our biases. We’re constantly seeking affirmation, not information. We all feel passionate about our perspectives, and choose to search data points that buttress our position, while deflecting those that may challenge it. All of this has contributed to polarization, which we’re seeing at unprecedented levels.”
Lubetzky says the company commissioned a study from Morning Consult, who conducted an online survey of 2,400 registered voters from March 7 to 9th, and found that just 5% see social media posts that differ greatly from their own world view.
To demonstrate the new app, the brand gathered 10 Americans together and asked if they were willing to pop their own bubble. The group included a janitor, a flight attendant, a college counselor, a freestyle rapper, a law enforcement official, a political strategist, a student and more. But while the ad portrays the pop as an eye-opening experience, we don’t see how any of the participants react to seeing content they actually disagree with. How does the Muslim woman engage with a Trump cheerleader? That is where popping bubbles becomes tough, the challenge more compelling.
For his part, Lubetzky isn’t trying to predict an outcome. “We don’t know how it will play out,” he says. “But we feel it’s important to get comfortable understanding other perspectives, even if we don’t always agree with them. This will make society stronger, more cohesive and united.”