Is everyone I know just like me?
I don’t want to live in a bubble.
And that can be hard to prevent. I live in a town that is self-consciously progressive. The kind of town Fox News talking heads would describe as full of granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing, Volvo driving elitists who are out of touch with “real” people.
I remember standing in a restroom line at a Bruce Cockburn concert when the woman in front of me started a tirade about then-President Bush assuming I would fully agree with her. I did. But it made me wonder how a politically conservative person who just happened to like Canadian folk singers would have felt in my place.
Enter Eli Pariser who recently wrote The Filter Bubble: What the Internet is Hiding from You. He argues that we can customize our media experiences so much that we are never confronted with ideas that don’t already agree with our own. And that some online search engines and social media actually filter what we see based on our previous searching behavior.
So if you support conservative political causes your search engine results and Facebook updates may soon be skewed more toward conservative content. And, of course, if you’re a liberal, you’ll see more information that already supports your viewpoint.
Are all dog lovers alike?
What does this have to do with dogs?
Just this. My interest (some might say obsession) in dogs, has me spending a lot of time reading blogs, tweets, Facebook statuses, and books about dogs. One could argue that is an example of me shrinking my world by focusing so strongly on one interest.
But people of all types have been touched by experiences with dogs. When I click the names of people who “like” Something Wagging This Comes on Facebook (and, if you haven’t already, why not?), I see American Civil War reenactors, NASCAR fans, Christians, Atheists, and even a few freaky people who list television shows they like to watch.
Blogging has helped me “meet” people from all over the world who remind me that the World Series means nothing to people outside the U.S. (thank you, Georgia Lil Pea, although, as a baseball fan it makes me very, very sad). And that although American progressives admire the social policies of Scandinavian countries, even the Danes don’t always do the right thing.
When I’m disappointed that so much of the American media focuses on sensationalism instead of investigation, I come across a site, like Mary Haight’s Dancing Dog Blog, that works hard to be accurate and fair in sharing information about animal welfare issues.
And, when I finally get off the computer, I meet far more neighbors when Honey is with me than when I am alone. Honey’s made friends with the mail carrier, all the local school kids, the crossing guard, and just about everyone else nearby who has ever loved a dog.
Canines grow more than just dog hair.
I believe that love is expanding. When we open our hearts to another creature, we become larger and more open. And it’s often easier to love an animal than a person. Many who have been wounded by people in their lives turn to dogs and find a safe and forgiving friend.
It’s that understanding of the friendship of animals and the shared sense of loss when one we love dies that unites dog lovers. Even if our politics, religions, ethnicities, tastes in music, marital status, gender or nationalities are different, we’ve all been blessed to love dogs. It gives us something to talk about at the dog park, even if we have nothing else in common.
So I’m not going to worry too much about the doomsayers who predict we’ll forget how to talk to people different from ourselves and fall apart as a society. Maybe I’ll do an occasional search on the Nation of Islam, Chinese wedding etiquette, and the NRA to mix things up a bit and to confuse the search engine filters. But mostly, I’ll keep loving dogs and enjoy meeting others who do too.
This is a blog hop. Hop on…