WCS Blogpost: The Indivisible Guide to Activism Smarts
by Jeffrey Marino
“Some Americans are interested in peeking outside their filter bubbles right now, which gives tech companies an incentive to cater to their desires.”*
As we contemplate the so-called ‘filter bubble’ – our hermetic audiences of like-minded people – and how it has recently had such inordinate impact on our political and social culture in the election cycle of 2016, people (meaning us, creatures who seek ease in our digital lives) are tempted to adopt software fixes and tweaks to our Facebook community.
Escape Your Bubble is a plug-in (by Google) that brings alternative political views to your Facebook newsfeed:
Each story appears with a pink heart icon and a banner that says: ‘Happily inserted by your EscapeYourBubble Chrome Extension J’”*
Other people are interested in how to make their bubble more tangible, more real, an actual community. Continual protests large and small in major cities are translating this interest into mass spectacle. But after the photos are tagged on Facebook and the crowds disperse, is there any lasting effect? Has community occurred?
Enter the Indivisible Guide, an entity whose purpose is to help organize citizen resistance to the agenda of the Trump administration. It presents a web based interface that allows individuals to grapple with the complex process of political reaction, and offers to contextualize that engagement as group activity. Its capitalizes on feelings needful of assuagement - the depression and dismay of Democrat voters (‘what do I do?’) - and its simplicity accommodates the attention deficit of the general public (‘how do I do it easily?’). Its single-minded messages
Members of Congress are motivated only by reelection
Members of Congress are influenced by citizen pressure
can be seen as a model for reframing virtual engagement (the Facebook bubble) into physical community (actual people, albeit still surrounded by likeminded peers).