Some economists at the University of Chicago have tried to answer the question of whether the Internet allows people to isolate themselves in an echo chamber. They’ve come up with an “isolation index”. The higher the index, the more isolation. Here are the media numbers:
The isolation index we estimate for the Internet is higher than that of broadcast television (1.8), magazines (2.9), cable television (3.3), and local newspapers (4.1), and lower than that of national newspapers (10.4). We estimate that eliminating the Internet would reduce the ideological segregation of news and opinion consumption across all media from 4.9 to 3.8.
But then there’s this:
It is significantly lower than the segregation of actual networks formed through voluntary associations (14.5), work (16.8), neighborhoods (18.7), or family (24.3). The Internet is also far less segregated than networks of trusted friends (30.3).
The conclusion is clear: if you want to be “open minded”, stay the hell away from friends and family.