Has your Facebook feed become an echo chamber? This app can fix that.

Just 5% of us regularly see views we strongly disagree with on social media. Here's how to change that.

Getting out of your filter bubble can be a useful experience, and thanks to a new app, it's as easy as pressing a button.

"But I don't live in a bubble," you might say. "I listen to a wide range of views." And maybe you'd be right! But a new exercise from the Kind Foundation puts that to the test with their "Pop Your Bubble" campaign and app.

Because as it turns out, just 5% of us regularly see posts on social media that we'd say "differ greatly" from our own worldview. And because of that, most of us aren't seeing the whole picture.


All images from the Kind Foundation/YouTube.

Social media makes information more readily available than ever before, but it also lets us choose what information we do or do not want to see.

In many ways, this can actually be a good thing — for example, it allows a lonely gay kid in a homophobic household to connect with a community that validates and supports their identity, while filtering out the kinds of anti-gay messages they already hear at home. The unintended side effect of this, however, is the way it can warp our perception of what the world outside is really like or how many people actually feel a certain way on an issue.

It's a phenomenon called the "filter bubble," a term coined in 2011 by Upworthy CEO Eli Pariser, and describes a distorted view of the world resulting from this über-personalized experience. Partially the result of our own choices and partially the result of social media algorithms, we all exist in our own filter bubbles that feed us information that fits our existing world views without challenging them too much.

The Pop Your Bubble app scans your Facebook profile for Likes, shares, and friends to get a sense of who you are and what sort of news you're regularly exposed to — then it offers up radical change.

The app offers you a slew of suggestions of people to follow that will add some ideological diversity to your news feed.

The question is: Are you up to the challenge?

More than half of all adults in a survey by the Morning Consult and the Kind Foundation said this is something they'd be interested in trying out. And, of course, if it's not working out for you or taking too much of a personal and emotional toll on your well-being, it's easy to unfollow any of the new additions to your newsfeed.

Getting outside our bubbles can help make us better, more effective and persuasive participants in political conversation. Even better, it can make us better, more empathetic people.

You won't agree with everything you see in your new post-bubble feed, and that's the whole point. And you certainly don't need to engage with every post you disagree with (in fact, maybe it's best to start just by listening and following the conversation).

Whether you're progressive, conservative, moderate, or something else entirely, it's a good idea to — at least occasionally — see what others are saying about the latest hot topic in politics, even if just to remind yourself that not everyone thinks the same way you do.

Of course, it's not anyone's responsibility to expose themselves to views they find abhorrent, or views that are dehumanizing or degrading, nor is it to suggest that those other views are necessarily right or worth giving equal consideration to. But for those who are interested in stepping outside the filter bubble, this can be a really useful tool worth giving a try.

Learn more about the Pop Your Bubble app on its website, and check out the cool video below from the Kind Foundation about the project.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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via KGW-TV / YouTube

One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture