Despite our new-found freedom for sharing information, there may be some potential drawbacks. Since we have total control over our media diets, one could assume that some people would want to shut out opposing views. After all, opposing opinions can be quite uncomfortable. Perhaps it taps into that childish act of plugging your ears and shouting "LA LA LA LA LA" when someone says something you disagree with. But, the Internet's ability to filter may be less innocuous than I make it out to be, according to Cass Sunstein:
". . .from the standpoint of democracy, filtering is a mixed blessing. An understanding of the mix will permit us to obtain a better sense of what makes for a well-functioning system of free expression . . . First, people should be exposed to materials that they would not have chosen in advance. Unanticipated encounters, involving topics and points of view that people have not sought out and perhaps find irritating, are central to democracy and even to freedom itself. Second, many or most citizens should have a range of common experiences. Without shared experiences, a heterogeneous society will have a more difficult time addressing social problems and understanding one another."
Sunstein believes that this filtering will lead to a more and more fragmented society: if we are so sheltered from opposing viewpoints that we do not even know what those viewpoints are, then we have no common ground with other people who don't share our inclinations. Basically, the filter defeats the old adage of America as the great "Melting Pot."