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POP YOUR BUBBLE: THE ANTI-ALGORITHM

EDIBLE (A DANIEL J. EDELMAN AGENCY), New York / KIND SNACKS / 2017

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Overview

Credits

Overview

CampaignDescription

The KIND Foundation created Pop Your Bubble, a first-of-its-kind social experiment, featuring a tool to help people connect through the power of technology. The secret was our “anti-algorithm” — an algorithm that matched users with people who were most different from them (rather than just showing them more of the stuff they already “like”).

We didn’t just talk about our divided nation — we offered a concrete solution to help people actually listen to one another. The data-driven tool was the centerpiece of our experiment, giving anyone access to a personalized array of strangers who would “pop their bubble.” We analyzed a user’s Facebook profile (age, location, likes, shares, etc.) and searched for people that were the most different from them. The user was then invited to follow ten of these new people, populating their news feed with perspectives from outside their world view.

MediaStrategy

Pop Your Bubble was a social experiment conducted in multiple parts.

First we exposed the problem, showing ten participants the surprisingly skewed makeup of their political bubbles. We then challenged our participants to pop their social media bubbles, documenting their reactions in a film.

Next we built a Facebook tool and a custom “anti-algorithm,” giving the whole nation a chance to fix their news feeds. The tool analyzed users’ Facebook profiles (age, location, likes, shares, etc.) to find strangers that were the most different from them, and made it easy to follow any of them on Facebook with a single tap. Once users followed ten of those strangers, they could “pop their bubble” and share the news with their friends. After popping, the user’s Facebook feeds would be populated with thoughts, opinions, and daily life updates dramatically different than the ones they were used to seeing.

Outcome

In the first two weeks, Pop Your Bubble resulted in more than 140 million earned media impressions, including coverage from The Washington Post, Fast Company, CNN, and more, as well as 25 million Twitter impressions. Most importantly, within the same time period, users established over 40,000 new relationships, furthering the KIND Foundation’s mission to connect people from all walks of life.

Relevancy

After the 2016 election, the KIND Foundation wanted to do more than just start a conversation — we wanted to create real impact and actually affect change. Pop Your Bubble was a social experiment built to do just that, using an "anti-algorithm" to analyze Facebook users' data and connect them with people outside their world view.

Through the power of data, we were able to help people pop their social media bubbles, bringing a divided United States back together again.

Strategy

We conducted our own study of social media users, analyzing how their views compared with the views they typically saw in their feeds. The majority of people said they considered themselves open-minded, but only 5% reported seeing social media posts from outside their world view. This finding was a jarring one: Even if people saw themselves as open-minded, their online behavior didn’t quite match up.

Data also played a critical role in the way we connected our users. By analyzing basic details of someone’s Facebook profile and activity, we were able to employ our “anti-algorithm,” connecting them with people outside their bubble. An 18-year-old man from New York might have been presented with a 65-year-old female from the Midwest, then given the opportunity to follow her and add her perspective to his news feed.

Synopsis

In 2017, America was divided. The era of social media was supposed to be connecting us all, but it was actually making things worse — many people were only seeing content from like-minded individuals in their news feeds, driving an even greater wedge between people with varying perspectives.

The KIND Foundation exists to foster kinder, more empathetic communities, so instead of just talking about the problem, we created a real solution: a data-driven social experiment that used an “anti-algorithm” to actively affect change.

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