We all know we live in “bubbles.” November 8, 2016 (and the many shocked reactions to it) showed us that, if we didn’t know already.
These bubbles happen when we surround ourselves with only people like us. This makes it difficult to understand or empathize with the groups we often label as “other.” Most of us assume this is just how the world works, but now a new campaign from the KIND Foundation (the non-profit arm of the snack bar company) is pushing back.
This week, the KIND Foundation launched Pop Your Bubble, an app that connects to your Facebook page. We are a polarized country and our social media feeds aren’t helping. Only 5 percent of us see social media posts that differ greatly from our world view, according to research from Morning Consult and KIND. Since social media is such a huge part of our lives, this campaign aims to create change from our Facebook pages.
Pop Your Bubble uses an algorithm that analyzes your profile and suggests new people for you to follow so you can see differing opinions on a daily basis. So if you’re liberal, you might see some #MAGA posts; if you’re conservative, maybe you’ll see some Bernie bros pop up on your feed. It sounds a little crazy, but it may be worth a try.
KIND hopes Pop Your Bubble will increase empathy in the United States, according to Dana Rosenberg, the director of KIND Movement.
This contentious political climate has even pushed some of us to start de-friending those who disagree with us.
“This inability to listen to other opinions with an empathetic ear is troubling,” Rosenberg told Bold. “If we only talk and listen to people who think and live like we do, polarization will continue to increase.”
The KIND Foundation is hoping their work will help counteract this trend. KIND has been in the “inspiring kindness” business for a while. In fact, the founder of KIND, Daniel Lubetzky, has founded organizations like this before, working to “pop bubbles” around the world. PeaceWorks Inc. and OneVoice Movement are examples of this, which work to end conflict in the Middle East by bringing opposing sides of an issue together. Rosenberg said Lubetzky is hopeful KIND could become a vehicle for social change.
“Pop Your Bubble is a very modest attempt at bringing people together,” she said. “While we don’t think it will mend our country’s divides, we hope it kick-starts some productive conversations.”
This campaign reminded me of the SNL skit “The Bubble.” The skit makes fun of people hiding away from other opinions, saying: “If you’re an open minded person, come here and close yourself in.” SNL is of course making a joke but there’s some truth here. We instinctively want to hide within what we know.
Rosenberg said KIND understands that these situations can be challenging. She recommended users focus on listening first, before engaging. She said, “We believe empathy is key to building bridges and mending divides.” Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes is a great first step.
Rosenberg said KIND hopes people are “able to appreciate the shared interests that they can find with their matches — perhaps you’re both big baseball fans or both enjoy the outdoors. We believe there is always more common ground than meets the eye.”
This is a tough topic. Here at Bold, some of us even got emotional watching the Pop Your Bubble video (above).
“I think we’re at a boiling point — the polarization we’ve reached in the U.S. is at unprecedented levels, and I don’t think that’s something Americans are particularly proud of,” Rosenberg said.
And while many of us know we’re living in a bubble, it can be hard to face. The Pop Your Bubble app is a great place to start, but we all know that “bubbles” exist both online and offline. To start the decreasing the polarization in the real world, Rosenberg said there needs to be an emphasis on “genuinely listening to one another – and listening to understand rather than respond.”