Why social media is just one huge echo chamber
Growing up in the era of technology is very rewarding, and as the next generation of whiz kids, many of us use social media, perhaps even a little too much.
But what's behind what we see on social media?
As a journalism student, I am taught about how to use social media to my advantage. However, something that keeps cropping up in my lectures is that 'social media is ultimately an echo chamber,' and it clicked. Literally, everything I ever learnt about social media fell into place.
Think about it, we follow who we want to follow, surround ourselves with people who have similar opinions and can even retweet what we agree with, thus contributing to this echo chamber.
Social media feels a lot like an echo chamber; I log on & often feel overwhelmed by how many voices are competing to most loudly say the same things. There’s no space to think.
— Salomé Gemme (@SalomeGemme) March 11, 2019
What is an echo chamber?
An echo chamber is, to use an analogy, basically a cave. When you shout into a cave there's an echo and it comes back to you. Like social media, you put your thoughts and choose what you want to hear by following who you want to, thus the echo chamber is formed.
You surround yourself with people who agree with your views and opinions, and this essentially makes us think that everyone thinks the same ways as you do. Face it, you're not going to follow someone whose ideas you don't agree with. Ultimately this isn't good because you get tunnel vision; thinking everyone thinks the same as you is not beneficial in any way. This website explains this concept in a more understandable manner.
Social media is dangerous because it is easy to find a large group of people to agree with almost anything you put up which can lead you to believe that it’s accurate as opposed to just being a massive echo chamber.
— Keith Dube (@MrExposed) February 3, 2019
Social media is something we must use with care because it is very easy to get lost in it.
Social media, however, it is not all bad. You can utilise it to promote your case, your work etc...and it can help you create connections for life, but like everything in life, I think it's also good practice to take it with a pinch of salt. Don't surround yourself with tweets and posts and stories and don't let it be your only form of gaining knowledge about what's going on. I suggest you actually talk to people and get their views straight from them rather than from behind a screen.
One way to tune your social media experience to be better is not to follow only people you always agree with but rather focus on the quality and thoughtfulness of their content. Don't let your feed become an echo chamber.
— Brad Wardell (@draginol) January 5, 2019
Echo chambers are also hard to get out, but if you want to hear both sides of every story then you're gonna have to take the plunge.
As much as social media has helped our generation grow beyond belief in terms of interacting with others through the means of mobile phones, it can also hinder how we view society.