The Spiral Of Silence – Social Media « The Dish

Another angle to how social media narrows discussion and debate:

It seems counter-intuitive–if we’re getting only what Facebook things we want to get based on everything they know about us, which is a lot, shouldn’t we assume we are always among friends? But it makes sense. We’re worried about losing friends, which is to say that we’re worried our number of friends will diminish.

What’s peculiar about the Pew study is how the questions were asked. Though the survey took place in the months after Snowden’s revelations, the subjects were asked will you and would you… not did you. Using the conditional to report on behavior that already might or might not have happened tends to make the whole exercise, well, an exercise.

It turns out, too, that the spiral of silence does not only extend to individuals. Take this week’s revelation about the NSA’s Google-like search engine that shares something on the order of 850 billion data points such as private emails obtained without a warrant from ordinary American citizens among numerous government agencies. This is a big deal for many reasons, not the least of which is that it may enable the FBI or the DEA to illegally obtain evidence and cover their tracks while so doing. Yet the mainstream media almost uniformly ignored the story. When I searched ICREACH today, only the online tech media had picked it up and run with it. Is it possible that the mainstream media is afraid of losing friends, too?

The Spiral Of Silence « The Dish.

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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