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Popping the Bubble: How to Escape the Social Media Echo Chamber

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This past election has left most millennials in a cloud of surprise.  I know that on my own Facebook news feed there was a very anti-Trump/pro-Bernie vibe.  In the months prior to the election, my outlets for social media were bombarded by very specific opinions against the reality TV billionaire.  All I heard were calls to “feel the Bern”.  To me, and I think to most people my age, it appeared unanimous that Trump would lose.  However this was not the case.  So what happened?

One issue with social media is that it’s prone to creating echo chambers: places where our ideas are reaffirmed by the consensus of our networks.  Don’t like one particular friend’s libertarian view?  Easy.  Unfollow them.  This ability to unfollow, paired with algorithms that curate content towards to your taste depending on what you like/react to, creates the walls that seal us into comfort zones with like-minded people.  It traps us into a biased reality; a bubble that prevents us from ideas different than our own.  Here are three simple ways to combat the bubble, and allow for the diffusion of ideas.  No one’s saying it’s easy, but those who do are the guardians who keep the dialogue open during difficult times and with controversial ideas.

Actively like and react to diverse new sources and pages

Much of the power and control that users have over their social media is in curation.  Your feed is curated according to the content you interact with.  Simply being aware of this fact can make help make you more conscious about how and what appears in your feed.  If you’re not seeing a lot of diversity in content, maybe try interacting with new stuff.

Watch out for confirmation bias 

Does it always sound like you’re right?  When you log onto your Facebook, does every status update and shared article resonate with your own beliefs?  It’s easy to be drawn by the gravity of people who support your ideas, but to keep an honest perspective on the state of the world, you need to balance out what you expose yourself to.

A wise person once said to me “you like that author’s opinion?  Then try reading their opposer’s book.”

Never Unfollow

The “unfollow” feature is meant to be used in times of dire offense.  It’s understandable that a person be unfollowed because they are insulting or harassing.  The problem is that in some subjects like politics and religion,  people can resort to both of these behaviors.  Because people tend to hold political and religious beliefs close to their hearts, opposing views often respond with even more hostility.  Usually in these cases people unfollow not because of the idea itself but because of the primitive and often negative ways people try to convey them.

What makes unfollowing such a bad option is that it closes the dialogue between big contrasting ideas.  If you unfollow a friend who disagrees with you, you’re basically choosing not to hear their side.  Does doing this really make you the bigger person?  When we choose to stop the flow of information, we are also choosing to remain within the bubble.  Break free by practicing these three simple guidelines.  Humans aren’t always the best at communicating, but at least keeping an open ear and an open heart leaves the door open to a more harmonious reality, one that actually reflects the ideas of the world, and the people who hold them.

 

 

What's up!? I'm Katrina. I'm wandering, collecting, witnessing and learning. I'm drawn to all things found at the intersection of art and technology. If I could go back in time, I think I'd be best friends with Mark Twain, Nikola Tesla and Cleopatra. When I'm not obsessing about the human endeavor or the nature of time, I'm probably cooking or dancing.

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2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Mental Wellness

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We’ve got another Holiday Gift Guide for y’all! We know that 2021 isn’t much less stressful than 2020. And now that the holidays are coming up we need help more than ever. This season, give yourself (or a loved one in need of coping mechanisms) these mental wellness gifts. Here is our 2021 Holiday Gift Guide for mental wellness. 

1. CalmiGo

If you’re an asthmatic with anxiety, this product will seem familiar. CalmiGo is essentially an inhaler for panic attacks. With calming lights and a lavender scent, you can calm yourself in three minutes. That’s one whole song. Who can’t endure one song in order to calm yourself? Say goodbye to panicked breathing into a paper bag like a comedy movie from the 1980s. Say hello to CalmiGo. 

Buy it now for $199

2. Komuso Design

What looks like a styled piece of jewelry is actually a breathing exerciser… I think. After some scrolling through and hunting for how this necklace is supposed to work, the site tells you that “most people don’t breathe properly.” (What is “proper” breathing? Sounds like it involves a corset, no?) Komuso’s Shift helps you breathe by placing what looks like a whistle into your mouth and … breathe. Shifts are available “for her” and “for him” (because, as we all know, breathing is gendered). 

At best, you can use it as a thing to play with if you’re the kind of person who needs to fidget. 

Buy it now for $85

3. Somnox

Is it a pillow? Is it a stuffed animal (or amoeba?) Am I going to be cuddling with it? You bet. The Somnox is a Sleeping Robot that helps regulate your breathing as you sleep. Anyone who battles insomnia (anyone with anxiety) will love this adorable little cuddle bug. Just look at it! I’m immediately relaxed for that perfectly snuggleable buddy. 

Get on the waiting list now

4. Gravity Weighted Chunky Knit Blanket

There’s nothing like a great blanket in the dead of winter. Gravity Weighted Chunky Knit Blanket sounds warm already. I don’t even care to read more. Sold. It comes in the comfortable named colors olive, winter white, and grey (if you can’t find the comfort in “grey,” you’re not going to make it through winter, sorry). 

Buy it now for $229

5. Gradient Signe Floor and Table Lamp

The right lighting can make a big difference in terms of mental wellness. Don’t believe me? Then why do they have a dimmer setting? Hm? Riddle me that, smart guy. The Gradient Signe Floor and Table Lamp is a stylish lamp so minimal that you barely notice it’s there. This light seamlessly blends colors from one to the next. One look at it and I already feel soothed. 

Buy it now for $299

6. Acupuncture Mat

No, it’s not the bed of needles you’ll see in an Arabian marketplace. This Acupuncture Mat gently stimulates across the body so effectively that you can’t help but relax. Anyone with aches and pains will find immediate comfort in this bubble-wrap-looking mat. 

Buy it now for $65

7. Cefaly

Anyone who has ever had a migraine knows just how bad it can be. Some people have a routine for how to deal with them. This cute little device, Cefaly, has electrodes you stick to your head. This is a “consult your doctor” kind of device, but, hey, when you have a migraine, you’ll grab anything to prevent and/or treat it. 

Buy it now for $379

8. Muse 2

People who struggle with anxiety usually benefit from meditation. But anyone who has tried meditation is well aware of how difficult it can be to obtain that encompassing sense of silence. The Muse 2 is here to lend a helping hand that provides real time feedback on brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and body movement. 

Buy it now for $249

Hope you liked what we picked for our holiday gift guide for mental wellness. Check out our other Holiday Gift Guides for 2021!

Happy Holidays and Be Safe!

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2021 Black Friday/Cyber Monday Deals You Can’t Miss

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Black Friday/Cyber Monday are coming up! Do you know what that means? That’s right! Promo codes and discounts galore! We know that 2021 hasn’t been much better than 2020. We need all the help we can get. So, we put together a list of some of our favorite SaaS company’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.

*Bookmark and revisit this page for updated Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions

BrandSavingsDurationDescriptionPromo Code
Fiverr20% Off Storewide; Up to 20% Off on Orders $500+ (on your first order)One-timeUnlimited Graphic DesignFIVERR20SALE; FIVERDOING20
Appolye25% discountLifetimeAll-in-one time tracking, employee monitoring, scheduling, and payroll management softwareCyber-Monday-25
EmailOctopus50% OffFirst Three MonthsEmail Marketing SoftwareCLICK TO ACTIVATE
HR Partner50% Off for lifeNow until November 30thEmployee records managementBLACKFRIDAY2021
Canva15% off all print productsBefore 11:59 AST on December 20, 2021DIY Graphic Design WebsiteGIFTING15
Wincher75% Off3 MonthsSEO rank trackerBLACKFRIDAY21
SendX40% – 50% Off On All Annual PlansNovember 26-29, 2021Email Marketing SoftwareCLICK TO ACTIVATE
Infinity20% off on all purchased plans and upgradesValid until December 1st, 2021Work Management Platform20%OFF
SalesHandyRegular 15%; Plus 25%; Enterprise 40%LifetimeEmail Automation ToolREGBFCM2021; PLUSBFCM2021; ENTBFCM2021
Cloudways40% OFF for 4 Months on all hosting plansNovember 23rd, 2021 – December 1st, 2021Managed cloud hosting platformBFCM2021

Happy Black Friday/Cyber Monday! Celebrate with some of the most generous discounts you’ll find online this holiday season. We know how hard these past few years have been, so all of these companies want to offer everyone a chance to enjoy a service they normally might not get a chance to experience.

Check out some of our other Holiday Gift Guides!

Happy Holidays and Be Safe this year!

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Holiday Gift Guide: LEGO Sets That You Need

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This holiday season, it’s important to never, ever let the child inside you die. That would be, like, totally lame. Anything we can do to foster that spark is worth the investment. Whether that’s with video games, board games, or epic Nerf battles, you need to encourage your youthful side to play. In my case, it’s LEGO. 

Here are some LEGO sets that will bring you back to childhood

Star Wars: The Mandalorian The Child 

The Child, Baby Yoda, or Grogu. It doesn’t matter as long as you can build him. This LEGO set, featuring 1,073 pieces, allows you to move his adorable little ears, posing you how you see fit. It’s impossible not to smile at a little LEGO Grogu, amirite? 

Buy it here for $79.99

Infinity Gauntlet

This 590-piece model of the iconic weapon from Avengers will have your enemies all over the known universe trembling that they may be reduced to dust. One snap, and the food crisis will suddenly become far more manageable. 

Buy it here for $69.99

Super Mario 64 Question Mark 

Don’t smack your head on this. Nothing will come out. Well, money won’t. Instead, you can fold out microscale levels including Peach’s Castle, Bob-omb Battlefield, Cool, Cool Mountain, and Lethal Lava Trouble. Play for hours with 2,064 pieces or fold it up and leave it on display for your guests to go, “?” 

Buy it here for $169.99 

Seinfeld Set 

What’s the deal with this 1,326-piece set? You can recreate classic Seinfeld moments, but in LEGO. Elaine’s goldfish, Kramer’s thirst-inducing pretzels, or sit around and yada yada yada about nothing. For fans of LEGO and Seinfeld alike, this set is definitely sponge-worthy. 

Buy it here for $79.99

Adidas Originals Superstar Athletic Shoe

Maybe you’re not as amused by a giant LEGO shoe as I am, but this set comes with real laces. 731 pieces make up this buildable version of the iconic sneaker. Since real shoes are best used on feet, it makes much more sense to put a LEGO shoe on display. 

Buy it here for $79.99

R2D2 

*excited beeps and whistles!* Recreate your favorite droid with this 2,314-piece set. This R2D2 is capable of head swiveling, periscope rising, and other gadgets and doodads so you can (kind of) pose him any way you choose. 

Buy it here for $199.99

Ship in a Bottle 

For those of you who have always wanted to build a ship in a bottle but never wanted to dedicate that much time or patience, LEGO is offering you a consolation prize. This 962-piece rainy-weekend project is surely just as satisfying as the incredibly time-consuming nautical hobby counterpart. 

Buy it here for $69.99

DC Batman Batmobile Tumbler 

If you like some hardcore goth-bro energy, then this LEGO batmobile set is for you. Boasting 2,049 pieces, the tumbler from the Nolan series is one of a kind. Featuring Batman and Joker minifigures, you can rule the night one brick at a time. 

Buy it here for $229.99

Titanic

Titanic-enthusiasts rejoice! Here is the most unsinkable model, a model that God himself could not sink. At a price more affordable than a one-way first-class ticket, you will spend as many hours to build this thing as it took to construct the actual Titanic. Featuring detailed interiors, you can build the famous Grand Staircase, smoking lounge, swimming pool, and much more. Just keep an eye out for that LEGO iceberg, roight ahead!

Buy it here for $629.99

NASA Space Shuttle Discovery 

Designed in collaboration with NASA, this Space Shuttle Discovery set coincides with the 40th anniversary of the very first shuttle flight. With 2,354 pieces, you can spend hours constructing this iconic piece of human aerospace history. There’s even a cute little Hubble Telescope you can build alongside. 

Buy it here for $199.99

Fender Stratocaster Guitar 

Recreate this iconic 1970s guitar made famous by Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton played, only LEGO. Make your musician friends seemingly jealous with this nonmusical set. 

Buy it here for $99.99

Darth Vader Helmet – $69.99

Recreate the famous dark lord’s helmet and feel the power of the dark side. With 834 pieces, you can immerse yourself into the world of the Sith and feel what it’s like to rule the galaxy. 

Buy it here for $69.99

There are many, many more LEGO sets out there to choose from. But these are the sets we think are awesome. However, when it comes to LEGOs, everything is awesome.

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