Tag Archives: polarization

Same piece of news, different responses

Recently there is an incident of Chinese couple behaving rudely on a plane and forced the plane to make an U-turn.

This is captured on a number of news media: Washington Post, Free Malaysia TodayStomp and Stomp Facebook Page.

The most detailed account, as of now, can be found on a video at v.qq.com.

We can see that on different websites, the responses on the comment section are quite different in terms of the focus.

Washington Post: The comments on are mostly revolved around an awkward expression used in the article.

Free Malaysia Today: Debating whether this is an isolated case or it reflects the behavior of the Chinese people in general.

Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page: Mostly scolding the Chinese people in general.

The very different responses from different websites can only be explained by the segregation of the Internet communities, which I briefly discussed in my previous post. Basically people have different presumptions and life experiences, these lead to different views and stands on certain issues. Internet, instead of encouraging discussions and resolve the differences in opinions, sometimes further reinforces these one-sided mindsets and allow them to grow in “closed” communities.

This “closed community” phenomenon is most obvious on Stomp and Stomp Facebook Page, whereas on other more “open” websites, there are still some level of discussions going on.

Maybe we really need the net to be more “neutral”.

polarized society

Internet and polarized society

Update: The term echo chamber describes a concept similar to what I call the “polarized society”.

The impact of Internet on polarized society has probably been vigorously studied in the field of sociology. Nonetheless, here is my personal view on it.

Polarized society, brought by the freedom of Internet

Internet is a great tool for communication. However, I feel that it did not help ease the polarization in the society through open communication. Instead, it actually deepens the already existing polarization because people are free to choose “what they want to know” and select their preferred sources of information. With biased people, biased sources of information and the freedom to choose, it is natural that people will start to form “communities” based on their Internet browsing habits and personal opinions. Continue reading