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Simmons and Olbermann

I'm really enjoying listening to Bill's re-booted podcast after his exit from the ESPN stable.

He always has a great way of eliciting wide ranging conversations from his guests.

As someone with an interest in current events/politics and sports this episode with Olbermann, looked like a cracker, considering the US primary craziness and the fact they've both recently "left" ESPN.

At the 21:20 mark, they discuss how the landscape of media has changed due to social media and Simmons says:

I keep thinking about how social media has changed stuff... but one thing that I think, people tend to follow... you follow people that you get along with, that think like you, for the most part.... and I wonder if that reinforces these two sides... now it's like 'your internet life' - everyone's where you are mentally with things.

That really resonated - because I see that play out in not just politics and media discussion, but in education too. It's really hard to get critical critique of issues that both enables and challenges people in useful safe ways.

It's as if we've unlearned the ability to "agree to disagree". Even that phrase has is now basically code for "let's not engage".

I said about 4 years ago to someone that the great nonsense with the education debate in NZ, is that on our list of 10 things we believe are important, the left and the right pretty much agree on 8 of them.

But we spend all of our time and energy arguing and shouting at each other about the other two.

All social media has done is amplified that division and we need to keep pushing back on that division by reaching out.

Listening to differing opinions doesn't mean we concur with those opinions.

It means we respect them and can reflect on them - can use them to refine our own thinking.

It means we're human.

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