So far in our podcast, we’ve been encouraging people to break out of their bubble through discourse, good questions, and a careful awareness of bias in media and how we consume news. But we’d be remiss to not point out the obvious bias we often see in ourselves when we’re seeking out information.
This week, we tackle the idea of “confirmation bias” at all its levels– in how we ask questions and sometimes skew the responses we get, in how we think about what is “given” and what we can question, and even how searching for positivity can result in being happier.
Listen to “Grey Swans” (and how we adapted Nassim Taleb’s concept of Black Swans for our title) :
We see them more and more these days. And not just because people are posting more often, but because their reach is getting amplified with social media shares and “viral” statuses. These cathartic, explanatory, uplifting, or sometimes ranting social media posts are making their rounds on newsfeeds around the world.
This week, we take a look at some statuses we’ve seen in our feeds to better understand what pushes someone to share personal details or stories on a platform that is very public.
In the process, we found that posting things to social media sometimes reinforces your echo chamber, but it can also break through to bipartisan discussion or invite the ever-feared “Internet Trolls” (dun dun dunnnnn).
Listen to this week’s episode on “Posting and Low-Blows and Trolls, Oh My!” :
How would you explain to a child how to walk? Or explain what exactly it is you’re doing when you speak? Often, the things that come most naturally to us are the most difficult to explain to others. And sometimes, our jobs – our professional skills – can fall in that category.
This episode touches on experiences we discussed way back when BTB was just a concept. And when we heard about our friend Zaid’s experiment on expertise and the takeaways he was finding, we decided now was the time to synthesize our own anecdotes and come up with ways to “check your expertise.”
As an overview, here are some general Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to engaging in conversations where expertise level might be unequal:
-Don’t be condescending
-Remember that your expertise had to start at the beginning at one point too
-Remember your “audience”
-Try to avoid jargon and be patient
-Is the topic someone might feel judged or self-conscious about for not being aware of?
-Start by acknowledging that you might be covering something he/she already knows and that you can speed up if needed
-As the learner, think about how to make the information stick in a way that works for you
-Use other examples or metaphors to draw connections (like Mean Girls! That always works for Eunice!)
Yes, we realise this title sounds just a tad nerdy. What can we do? We’re journalists who like numbers (gasp!!!!).
But really. Numbers can lie just like people do. And it’s important to be able to recognise when a specific stat has been manipulated to tell you just one side of a story. We hope today’s episode will help with that. Let us know what you think!!
We’ve both been big fans of The Daily Show for years, and back in college, we often found ourselves relying on Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert for more candid, unfiltered versions of the news.
But that in itself is a problem. And as the political climate around the world has become more charged, it seems ‘unfiltered’ is a thing of the past.
All media today seems to have an opinion. And that combined with the stress of gaining viewership means TV news channels are getting more and more sensationalised, often following the path of comedy shows and late night programming.
Does that simply make the news more interesting? Or is this a dangerous trend?
This episode was super fun to research, discuss and edit because of all the examples we’ve sprinkled throughout. Check it out and let us know what you think!!
We also mentioned a specific back and forth between an O’Reilly Factor segment and a response from the Daily Show, as well as what we thought would be comparable precedent.
Daily Show Response:
Previous Daily Show segment in the same vein:
Reverse Engineering Stats! We got a lot of positive feedback on the How to Question Everything episode so we decided we’d take it one step further… How to question the statistics and numbers you see cited in articles. More specifically, how to reverse engineer them to see if you’re being misled.
This week’s episode has been a long time in the making and was probably one of the first things the two of us started discussing in-depth on a regular basis.
We’re constantly talking about the theory of news, about when the media gets things right, and when they don’t stick the landing. We love news, but we also know that taming your bias is hard and even the most renowned papers can slip up (oops, maybe that’s a bit of our bias coming out too).
These tips are just some of the things we’ve learned to do and if you have any other examples, let us know on this blog, on instagram or facebook. Or you know, call us, beep us, if you wanna reach us.
And as promised, here are links to the articles we mentioned in this week’s episode:
Welcome to Breaking the Bubble (or BTB as we like to call it)!
We’re really excited to announce that our personal pet project has finally materialized. This was born out of a really productive weekend of discussion, research and being really motivated to wanting to make a difference in some of the issues we see these days. Since then, we’ve been putting together content, doing interviews, and also a lot of giggling bloopers.
Listen to our intro podcast, which goes into why we’re starting this and what to expect coming down the pipeline.
But most importantly, please let us know what you think and if you feel there are any other “bubbles” that need breaking, including our own.
Follow our page and listen along as we explore outside of our comfort zone and touch upon some tough topics, and hopefully you’ll be able to hear a new point of view too!
If you’re reading this, the two of us (Eunice and Priyanka) have somehow tricked you into checking out our podcast! (Muahahaha).
This blog and podcast are pretty much an extension of our eternal effort to ask questions, play devil’s advocate, and better understand the world. It’s us bringing our private friendship to the public stage, and we hope it brightens your day, whether that’s with laughter or musings!
Check out the About Page for more information on us. We’re excited to share our world with you!