A recent post in the New York Times by Claire Cain Miller argues that social media silences debate rather than enhances political participation. She cited a report by Pew Research Center which concludes that people will tend to share political views on social media if they think those views would be agreed with. However, if they think that people will disagree with them, they will refrain from posting their views, leading to a "spiral of silence."

In fact, the report went on to state that people who use social media frequently will be less willing to get into a political debate over hot issues - either through social media or in person. They would, in effect, become self-censoring and effectively lower the level of debate over serious issues.

While most people say that they might be willing to discuss potentially polarizing topics in face-to-face encounters such as at meals, work or community meetings, they prefer not to do so on Facebook or Twitter - unless they believe that their views will be accepted.

Can it be, as the post in the Times asserts, that the Internet is increasing polarization? Is it possible that if people won’t disagree online and search for forums and social groups that only agree with them, that our political discourse will continue to decline into name-calling and threats?