The Ideological Echo Chamber: What is it? Why is it Harmful? And How do You Avoid it?

By Osh | USA

An “echo chamber,” is a pretty common phrase. An echo chamber is basically what happens when someone surrounds themselves with individuals with almost the exact same ideals as them. The echo chamber can occur almost anywhere, but I find it to be most common with political enthusiasts.

An echo chamber can occur either on purpose or by accident. It could occur when you follow several right-wing accounts or surround yourself with right winged friends. The results are always the same: in the end, you are surrounded by people who hold the same ideals as you and agree with almost every one of your points. It’s most common, however, in social media. With social media, you can filter what content you want to see. If you were to check your Instagram right now, I’m fairly sure a good majority of you follow a number of Libertarian accounts, with a few Conservative accounts. But how many liberals do you follow? How many feminists? Nationalists? The numbers have probably dwindled down to two or one or even zero. You have surrounded yourself with like-minded people. On the surface, this doesn’t seem like a bad thing. However, the effects of the echo chamber are not immediate.

The biggest flaw with the echo chamber is that it leads to the stagnation of ideas. You’ll be chanting the same phrase that every other right-wing account has posted. You’ll be convinced that the other side is filled with nothing but over-sensitive babies. You’ll believe you know every side of the argument, and how to combat the “libtard” arguments. You’ll start believing almost anything they throw at you. “Liberals defend paedophilia,” they’ll say, and you’ll think to yourself, “Wow, these liberals are crazy, and must be stopped!” However, a quick visit to any LGBT, feminist, communist, or any left-leaning account, and you’ll find that they are just as disgusted with paedophilia as you are. Politics shouldn’t be about staying in your own lane. You have to grow your ideology, and adjust them as new evidence or arguments come to light.

So, the question is: how do I avoid the echo chamber? The answer is honestly really simple: diversify. Instead of scoffing at all the feminist accounts, actually, try to follow one. Of course, you will disagree with their some of their ideas, and that’s perfectly alright. Engage in a debate with them, and try to figure it all out from there point of view. You might gain new insight on something or it will be a waste of time, who knows until you actually try it?

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