Is Social Media an Echo Chamber?
Well, only if you want it to be.
The social media echo chamber is an increasingly controversial topic. It can be defined as a situation in which certain beliefs are amplified and reinforced by the media (who continuously pushes that information at them). The echo chamber is where people go and seek out information that reinforces their current view. This can create a confirmation bias, albeit unconsciously. There is the belief that social media echo chambers can increase extremist views, especially when it comes to political and social realms.
The social media echo chamber can be a dangerous place to be in, especially in the political realm. Many of us hold beliefs that aren’t necessarily skewed one way or the other, and the social media echo chamber can damper those in-between voices. In fact, in the midst of hot-button issues, the middle or moderate view can seem to disappear altogether. When you don’t see your opinion represented, there is the tendency to just adopt the opinion of others, which may be much more drastic or on one end of the spectrum.
However, there is an argument on the opposite side of the spectrum that states that we’re hearing more diverse voices than ever. If you support the idea that more diverse opinions are being offered, then you understand that we have a more balanced point of view. There is the idea that, while some are falling prey to the social media echo chamber, an equal amount of people are doing the opposite. They’re specifically branching out and trying to broaden their horizons by searching out new communities, interests, and opinions. From there, they form a new opinion and tailor their feed to that.
“The echo chamber is where people go and seek out information that reinforces their current view.”
Sure, echo chambers do exist out there, especially with algorithms that are designed to keep showing you the things you like, but that doesn’t mean that social media is bad. It’s all about your perspective and what you’re searching for. If you feel like you’re only looking at one thing or opinion on social media, expand your mind and reach out to new groups or follow accounts with different interests. Social media only has to be an echo chamber if you choose to make it one for yourself.
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