In these culturally and ideologically divided times, any chance to see how the other side lives is a chance that should be taken. Especially when it comes to social media, which has quickly become the way people get all of their personally curated news complete with confirmation biases and emotional feedback loops. But, as The Outline reports, a new plugin gives you the chance to see exactly what your fellow American sees when they’re scrolling through their Twitter feed, for better or worse.
FlipFeed is a Chrome plugin developed by a team at MIT, which hopes to break people out of their social media bubbles by allowing them to see the various feeds of conservatives, liberals, and presumably anime enthusiasts. Unlike the Wall Street Journal’s Blue Feed, Red Feed project, FlipFeed doesn’t simply simulate a generic social feed from somewhere on the political spectrum, but rather transports you into the shoes of an actual Twitter user. This way, you get to see firsthand what kind of news a Whole Foods clerk from Ohio is reading or what kind of racist memes a dairy farmer from Oregon is retweeting.
“Often we think of people from the ‘other side’ as mystical creatures who are so different from us,” Martin Saveski, a graduate student at MIT’s Laboratory For Social Machines who helped create FlipFeed, told The Outline. “We hope this will help people get a more holistic view of people who hold different political opinions from their own.”
It remains to be seen whether slipping into someone else’s news bubble will actually make you more understanding of different viewpoints or if it will simply make you grind your teeth into dust out of frustration. But, at this point, anything is worth a shot.