I’m sure this is old news to internet experts and I’m not the first person to see this, but this is a big revelation to me.
In reality, however, many people who spend hours online actually behave in the opposite way. They scan the web and discover only the information and opinions that reinforce their pre-existing ideas. Their time online has made them even more Manichaean in their worldview, more absolutely convinced that they are completely right. The chaos of the internet for them translates into an absolute certainty about the truth as they see it. Very often, once you find an online forum you like, you stop exploring. There are more potential news sources than ever before, but just like the days when newspapers were king, most people get their news from only one or two sources. The internet gets bigger every day, but the number of sites each person visits stays fairly stagnant. (I’m guilty of that myself.)