Meet Somya Bhagwagar, Bachelor of Science in Information student and creator of the @StudentsOfUMICH photo blog. StudentsOfUMICH tells the surprising stories behind the seemingly ordinary faces you see on a walk through the University of Michigan campus -- a student whose family remains in a war-torn country, a reproductive health advocate, an immigrant struggling with poverty, a football player participating in a fashion show, a student overcoming anxiety and depression -- to name a few.
"If you're missing one piece of the story, you have a completely different narrative," Somya says. While studying at the School of Information, Somya learned how algorithms used by social media networks create filter bubbles and echo chambers -- where users are fed selective, personalized content that matches their worldview and beliefs. "For me, it was more important to understand, what filter bubble am I in? What I am seeing that someone else isn't seeing?"
Part of the goal of @StudentsOfUMICH is to break down these barriers and show a diverse range of stories that might bring a new perspective, Somya says. "I want someone to look at the story and say, I never thought I could relate to someone like this before."