US President Barack Obama blows a bubble using a bubble wand created with a 3D printer as he tours the 2016 White House Science Fair in the Blue Room at the White House in Washington, DC, April 13, 2016. (Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)
One of the dominant themes emerging from the last election cycle is how divided a nation we really are. Americans aren’t alone, given voter breakdown of Brexit and this weekend’s decision on choosing a new French leader—that nation’s electoral map is indicative of the American landscape as well, with liberal voters concentrated in urban centers.
What has not been clear is how to resolve this problem. Engaging with those who hold different opinions seems impossible, at least online. Add to this trolls that assume dozens of identities to blanket social media posts with incendiary rhetoric. Just last week one of my posts on Obama’s return was plastered with a slew of racist commentary and photos.
Is one “side” more open to conversation than the other? Is this even possible when many dialogues are really only heated monologues lobbed like grenades with no patience to contemplate the artillery being fired back? If helpful conversation is not possible, how much worse will it get?
Like many liberals, I recognize the bubble I exist in simply by scanning my feed and noticing the percentage of news I agree with. I log onto Breitbart regularly to sift through news in attempts of wrapping my head around what’s being presented. Yet I never engage in discussion boards, the comments completely foreign to my experiences as an American citizen.
So I took notice when The KIND Foundation, the creators of Kind bars, launched the Pop Your Bubble campaign. It’s a simple extension that suggests ten people on Facebook with opposing ideologies. You can choose to follow them, if you’re so inclined, with the hopes of skewing your feed in another direction.
I’m always wary of companies launching campaigns, so I’m not going to vouch for the actors in the video, or whether or not they’re really actors. Kind has long relied on “every person” marketing, which I’m not criticizing; the company’s messages have always been unifying and culturally progressive, which feeds into my bubble. Since I don’t eat their bars—I wish they would be as wary about sugar as the people eating their candy bars—I have no investment in their product.