One of my bad habits is sharing news stories without checking their political bias or checking them against other sources. Some articles I post, especially those relating to topics like abortion or gun control, will incite flame wars on Facebook with friends of mine that share different viewpoints. This sort of pigeonholing of news into extreme liberal or conservative bias really detracts from the amount of empathy one can have for opposing ideas.
This week, I sought out to examine my social media bias, specifically related to sharing articles on Facebook. First, I wanted to tackle the problem before it started. I installed the Balancer Chrome extension, which claims that it monitors your news input and recommends articles with opposing views. However, it takes one month to collect data, so it remains to be seen how effective this will be.
Next, I wanted to analyze my existing status updates to try to find patterns in my posting habits. I found two Facebook plugins that will do this:
The first, StatusHistory.com, aggregates your status updates and allows you to search by keyword:
This was helpful in discovering how much I post about certain controversial topics. If I could monitor this, perhaps I could sway my posting habits away from articles that incite flame wars.
The second, Zeebly.com, analyzes your text and gives feedback about your personality:
This was a bit more accurate in showing what I post about, rather than just listing the keywords.
I hope to combine one of these applications with a feedback mechanism that could induce empathy before I post an article, rather than impulsively posting without stopping to think about my inherent bias first.