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A revealing look at how user behavior is powering deep social divisions online―and how we might yet defeat political tribalism on social media

In an era of increasing social isolation, platforms like Facebook and Twitter are among the most important tools we have to understand each other. We use social media as a mirror to decipher our place in society but, as Chris Bail explains, it functions more like a prism that distorts our identities, empowers status-seeking extremists, and renders moderates all but invisible. Breaking the Social Media Prism challenges common myths about echo chambers, foreign misinformation campaigns, and radicalizing algorithms, revealing that the solution to political tribalism lies deep inside ourselves.

Drawing on innovative online experiments and in-depth interviews with social media users from across the political spectrum, this book explains why stepping outside of our echo chambers can make us more polarized, not less. Bail takes you inside the minds of online extremists through vivid narratives that trace their lives on the platforms and off―detailing how they dominate public discourse at the expense of the moderate majority. Wherever you stand on the spectrum of user behavior and political opinion, he offers fresh solutions to counter political tribalism from the bottom up and the top down. He introduces new apps and bots to help readers avoid misperceptions and engage in better conversations with the other side. Finally, he explores what the virtual public square might look like if we could hit “reset” and redesign social media from scratch through a first-of-its-kind experiment on a new social media platform built for scientific research.

Features Of Breaking the Social Media Prism:

Providing data-driven recommendations for strengthening our social media connections, Breaking the Social Media Prism shows how to combat online polarization without deleting our accounts.

 

From the Publisher

The root source of political tribalism on social media lies deep inside ourselves

The root source of political tribalism on social media lies deep inside ourselves

Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing By Chris Bail

Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing By Chris Bail

This is a card with a quote from the book

This is a card with a quote from the book

A persuasive and well-informed look at one of today's most pressing social issues."

A persuasive and well-informed look at one of today's most pressing social issues."

Political extremists on social media seemed to have cult-like dynamics.

Political extremists on social media seemed to have cult-like dynamics.

quote from New York Times "Smartly and engagingly challenges assumptions"

quote from New York Times "Smartly and engagingly challenges assumptions"

Bail's analysis of the problem of online polarization is clarifying and compelling.

Bail's analysis of the problem of online polarization is clarifying and compelling.

Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing By Chris Bail

Breaking the Social Media Prism: How to Make our Platforms Less Polarizing By Chris Bail

Masterful...immediately relevant... the book offers hope that data-driven solutions

Masterful...immediately relevant... the book offers hope that data-driven solutions

 

Table of contents

Cover
Contents
1. The Legend of the Echo Chamber
2. Why Not Break Our Echo Chambers?
3. What Happens When We Break Them?
4. The Social Media Prism
5. How the Prism Drives Extremism
6. How the Prism Mutes Moderates
7. Should I Delete My Account?
8. Hacking the Prism
9. A Better Social Media
Appendix: Research Methods
Acknowledgments
Notes
Bibliography
Index

 

Product information

Publisher‏:‎Princeton University Press (April 6, 2021)
Language‏:‎English
Hardcover‏:‎240 pages
ISBN-10‏:‎0691203423
ISBN-13‏:‎978-0691203423
Item Weight‏:‎1 pounds
Dimensions‏:‎5.75 x 1 x 9 inches
0691203423

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