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The Truth Of Echo Chambers

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There’s a myth that echo chambers exist because online, we only look at opinions that support our own. In this Vlog, Grant explains that echo chambers do exist, just not in the way we think about them

There’s a myth that echo chambers exist because online, we only look at opinions that support our own.

But all the research suggests we’re actually exposed to more contrary opinions, in the online world, than we ever are in the offline world.

Think about your own experience.

(Virtual Grant) – I think you’re absolutely right, Grant –

The truth is, you see a lot of alternative views in comments, in tweets and in other posts, whether you like it or not. Of course, echo chambers do exist, just not in the way that we thought about them.

The truth is, if you’re sitting in the privacy of your own home, reading a magazine or a newspaper with alternative views to your own, you get a chance to reflect without the need to necessarily shout back and respond.

Online, however, this is not the case. It’s more akin to a football stadium where actually, the alternative views that you’re hearing are being shouted by the opposing supporters and at that point you feel the need to shout back.

In other words, cognitively, we don’t exist in an echo chamber, but socially we do.

Our sense of belonging makes us feel that we need to respond. We don’t worry about the facts more than we care about the social glue that keeps us together with the groups that we identify with.

It’s the need to obtain approval from our own communities that means echo chambers exist. The truth is that echo chambers exist, not because we don’t get alternative views online, but the way we respond to those opinions in the online world.

So is that a wrap? (sounds off) Yep!

(Virtual Grant) – Quite honestly, that was rubbish! –

There may be small changes to the spoken word in this transcript in order to facilitate the readability of the written English

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