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It’s Time to Escape the Echo Chamber of Social Media

The Collins Dictionary definition of an echo chamber is “a room with walls that reflect sound” and this is exactly what is happening within our social media hubs. We are all expressing similar views to our peers who share these views via social media; the ideas and ideologies are echoed, but never reach the different demographic of people as we are not “friends” with them. In short, you are preaching to the converted and not the people who you could potentially convert by sharing your views elsewhere (e.g. the real world…).

Let’s think of this in light of the upcoming UK general election:

The majority of your peers on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are people that you have studied with at school or university, people you work with or people who live in the same area as you (generally speaking) and therefore are most probably going to have the same issues with the government - like the cost of university or the closing down of a local hospital for example. Therefore, they will probably want to vote for someone who is going to solve the issues for them close to home, as are you. You also never hear the other side of the argument, gifting you with a ONE SIDED VIEW of world events and ideals.

As your political views are conditioned by your daily life and you all share somewhat similar life experiences, you and your Facebook friends will probably be in agreement with who you are voting for - and that’s absolutely fine! At this point you are probably wondering what the problem is, unless you’re pretty smart, and if you’ve got this far, you must have a decent grasp of the English language and an interest in current affairs… but I’ll explain anyway.

The PROBLEM is we are sharing our ideas with people who already have them and not seeing the other side to the argument. Maybe you have the odd older relative or old teacher on social media who may or may not listen to the “intelligent information” that you share on there, but chances are that you get through to very few people outside of your own demographic via social media. The same is true for others sharing information on social media – you may never see it and understand a different point of view if you never look beyond the walls of your own Facebook page.

There are millions of us on Facebook; young, old, rich, poor, male, female (I could go on for hours) that are all going to have different, and what may be considered ignorant ideas, on how they should vote or if they should even vote at all. This means that although it feels like everyone is thinking the same things as you because your ideals are all you see plastered on your timeline, the truth is the real picture could be quite different.

So what can we do about this?

If you feel passionately enough about this then GET OUT THERE. As in actually lift your bum off your desk chair, tear your eyes away from your phone screen and talk to people, knock on doors, hand out leaflets and LISTEN, too. In the UK, we suffer from a sever lack of young voters, yet my Facebook page is filled with friends urging me to vote. So who’s not voting? Find out and talk to them, take to the streets. What about the older generations who voted OUT last summer? I know for a fact that by talking to my grandparents and parents managed to sway their votes as well as understand why they may initially or still think differently to me.

We could change these kind of results.

We need to listen to those outside of our friendship groups online, outside of our families even and start to understand and perhaps start to influence people to make a more educated decision. Maybe your own views will change as a result, or maybe you could help to change the outcome of our own country’s election, whatever that may be. The important thing is to communicate OUTSIDE OF THE ECHO CHAMBER so we can start to heal these divides in society.

Edited by: Amy Hawthorne

Student at the University of Nottingham studying English and French. Spending a year in France doing sport, sailing and marketing.
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