It has been well understood that a healthy diet consists of a variety of meats, vegetables, grains, etc. I really don't know because most of my diet consists of as many burgers as I can eat without feeling guilt and Chick-Fil-A. When thinking of being an online participant (of which you are if you're reading this post), it can be helpful to think of having a well balanced diet. You don't want to just consume what you like otherwise you become lazy and obese (unless you like vegetables, then the analogy breaks down and I'm not sure how to help you).
You want to participate with a reasonable diversity of opinions to have a well balanced understanding of topics at hand. This the heart of the educational process and the opportunity afforded us who participate in the internets. That doesn't, however, mean force feeding yourself diverse opinions because somehow online participation necessarily dictates that you consume any and all forms of communication and information regardless of source. Discernment must come in to play at some point and so the question is how does one discern what to read. There is no rule that "one must follow 5 people with whom you disagree with on Facebook in order to be a good participant." So here are some helpful guidelines if you care about discernment. If not, have fun reading The Blaze and HuffPo.
1. Does the source, regardless of agreement with your positions, represent your positions fairly and accurately such that you would nod your head "yes" when reading? If no, then it's probably not worth your time.
2. Does the source, regardless of agreement with your positions, represent your opponents position fairly and accurately such that your opponent might nod their head "yes" in agreement when reading?
3. Does the source display any regard for the truth being ascertainable? If no, then the source and body of content is meaningless because for them truth is inherently meaningless which leads to other questions such as why they would choose to participate in communication at all when grammar and language necessitate an agreement to definitions and said truth. But nonetheless, if the source shows an inability and outright denial that truth can be found, you might as well go clean a toddler's room during playtime because it'll be that productive. This last point could venture down the terrain of pre-suppositionalism (of which I am a fan but not a follower) but regardless feel free to use a pitcher of water on that four alarm fire but chances are you won't put it out and the fire will just get worse.
As the search or even semblance of truth disappears, so does the ability to have any type of respectable and rational dialogue. If we were to argue about the best breed of dog, and yet you insisted that the wild cat roaming my neighborhood was included in the species canine, then we would not have a great deal of success. Rational discourse and dialogue must occur in the search for truth and believing it can be found. This is why our society continues to fragment and seems unable to even stand one anther's company. We cannot even discuss if men are men and women are women.
What about you? How do you decide what to read and "consume" online?