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Tribes of the internet

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What if instead of bring people together, the Internet actually increases the divisions between us?


And interesting article HERE talks about that.


Because the Internet allows like-minded people to contact and communicate, it could cause them to become more like each other and less like other people.


So for example, a Somali guy that lives in an area where there aren't any Somali people can contact Somali people on the Internet, join a Somali forum, chatroom and actually become more Somali though those interactions and less like the people in the area where he's living.


The author notes

With the customized access and search capabilities of IT, individuals can focus their attention on career interests, music and entertainment that already match their defined profiles, and they can arrange to read only news and analysis that align with their preferences. Individuals empowered to screen out material that does not conform to their existing preferences may form virtual cliques, insulate themselves from opposing points of view, and reinforce their biases. Authors of collaborative filtering technology have long recognized its ability to both foster tribalism as well as a global village.


Indulging these preferences can have the perverse effect of intensifying and hardening pre-existing biases. Thus people who oppose free trade are likely, after talking to one another, to oppose it more fiercely; people who fear gun control appear, after discussion, more likely to take action; and juries that want to send a message seem, after deliberation, to set higher damage awards. The reasons include information cascades and oversampled arguments. In one, an accumulating, and unchallenged, body of evidence leads members to adopt group views in lieu of their own. In the other, members of a limited argument pool are unwilling or unable to construct persuasive counterarguments that would lead to more balanced views. The effect is not merely a tendency for members to conform to the group average but a radicalization in which this average moves toward extremes.


Increasing the number of information sources available may worsen this effect, as may increasing the attention paid to these information sources ... Internet users can seek out interactions with like-minded individuals who have similar values and thus become less likely to trust important decisions to people whose values differ from their own. This voluntary balkanization and the loss of shared experiences and values may be harmful to the structure of democratic societies as well as decentralized organizations.

But why would it be 'harmful' to democratic society? who said homogeny is such a good thing? How would creating more diversity result in the loss of decentralized organizations? I would think it would create greater decentralization.

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