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Do echo chambers exist on social media?

Jun 6, 2023

Does social media diversify our exposure or are we siloed through algorithms and self-selection?

No one’s really sure. Interestingly enough, this meta-analysis found that studies using digital trace data found evidence of echo chambers, while self-report based studies found no evidence. The truth is likely somewhere in-between.

So while we may or may not be in echo chambers, we all benefit from putting more intention behind the variety + quality of the content we consume.   After all, who cares if you’re hearing multiple perspectives if they all stem from manipulative, low quality sources. And how does the variety you consume serve your inner growth + goals?

This article reminds us of the importance of not just passively taking in whatever information finds its way to your screen.  A more nourishing relationship with the internet means thinking more intentionally about your optimal content balance.

ACTION ITEM: 

  • Pick one of your go-to- platforms for information. Select something that showcases different sources. Maybe it’s TikTok.  Maybe it’s Apple News.
  • As you scroll through ask yourself: How diverse are the voices and narratives I’m exposed to here? How intentional is my assortment? Would I consider any of these low-quality?
  • Work to create a more well-rounded assortment, by removing sources that negatively contribute to your own biases. Add new high-quality sources to broaden your perspective.

READ FULL PAPER:  Echo Chambers on Social Media: A Systematic Review of the Literature

KEY QUOTES:

“Articles finding  clear  evidence  of  echo  chambers  were  all  based  on  digital  trace  data,  while  those  finding  no  evidence were all based on self-reported data.”

“While social media use can sometimes  positively  contribute  to  –  and  at  other  times  impede  –  democratic  deliberation  and  plurality,  there  is  a  need  to  acknowledge the fact that this is far from being a binary issue.”

JOURNAL: Review of Communication Research

AUTHORS: 

  • Ludovic Terren, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain
  • Rosa Borge, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain

COMPETING INTERESTS: None stated or referenced

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