Do you ever hear a friend or family member speak on a topic with the belief that “everyone” thinks the same way? Do you often find yourself surrounded in a social media feed that is completely tailored to you and your beliefs, scrolling along without the immediate realization?
A social media echo chamber is when one experiences a biased, tailored media experience that eliminates opposing viewpoints and differing voices. Due to social media algorithms that ensure we only see media that fits our preferences, we have found ourselves in a comfortable, self-confirming feed.
This is fed off of confirmation bias, which describes the way people perceive and take in information by filtering it through our preexisting beliefs and opinions. What brings us comfort is taking in media that already tells us what we agree with, but we must fight this.
Why? In order to truly get access to all information and to evaluate our media, we must give ourselves the opportunity to step out of our comfort zone. Otherwise, we find ourselves taking in many unresearched, false facts. While this becomes increasingly worse for society and leads to more division, there are things we can do to minimize this.
The first step is to beef up your media consumption sources. Adding in a few media sources with differing opinions will allow you to at least understand what people are saying outside of your echo chamber.
Next, the most important aspect is reading each thing you see with a critical eye. Make sure that each thing you accept as truth is truly fact.
Lastly, attempt to search out reliable new sources that are known for trying their best to filter out false narratives.
By accepting that our media buffet on social media is a product of our present beliefs and opinions, we can work to make sure we are not simply stuck in a social media echo chamber.