Listen to an echo for too long and you’ll be deaf.
A secret pastime of mine is looking at a political post and seeing the two colonies of ants wage war in the comments.
It’s a part of my “Road to Rome” check.
You know when you get so much infighting in a country… Rome-things happen. And… uhh selfishly, I don’t want that to happen.
So I passively monitor.
And what’s interesting is that if you spend enough time watching these ants arguing, you’ll notice that they rarely come to a middle ground.
Instead, they dig in deeper than a WWI trench and wait to get trench foot.
The casualty of this war is that genuine dialogue is rarely exchanged.
Only memes, assumptions, and well-worn talking points of the latest drama of the day.
And perhaps the biggest reason for this is that social media is an echo chamber.
Too Much Confirmation Bias
Confirmation Bias is the tendency to process information by looking for, or interpreting, information consistent with one’s existing beliefs.
Do you know what the other name for confirmation bias is?
And guess what? On I’m right avenue, I’m right and you’re wrong.
There’s no way around it.
The scary part is: social media perpetuates confirmation bias by design.
Success is literally measured by how often people spend their time on the apps.
And the best way to keep someone on is to keep you feeling good with stories you can agree with.
But… while this is good for business, it’s not necessarily good for society.
The Problem With Confirmation Bias
What could be wrong with being right all the time?
Besides being an incredibly boring conversationalist and cultivating a mind that grows dimmer than a flickering bulb, perhaps the biggest “risk” of an echo chamber is you mainly get one-side-of-the-fucking-story.
Which is a crude way of saying you’re missing out on perspective.
And when you miss out on perspective, you’re missing out on a whole lot of life.
One of the biggest reasons for the divide we see today is that the echo chamber empowers people in their beliefs instead of getting people to raise their hands and understand other perspectives before voicing their own opinions.
And why would you want to understand if you think you’re right all the time? It’s almost like you’d go against the grate and get diced if you wanted to.
But getting out of an echo chamber requires you to hear new sounds.
The Scariest Thing In The World Is The Unexamined Life
And a close second is a stupid person who’s confident that they’re right.
Because confidence over an extended period of time can look a lot like competence.
And that’s the whole problem with the social media echo chamber.
It encourages people in their own beliefs until they’re incapable of accepting someone else’s beliefs. Which kind of makes you an ass-hat.
Because you have the ability to reason, you should live an examined life and make decisions on your own.
And that’s exactly how you break out of the echo chamber.
Take Control And Experience The Rewards
Perhaps the best way to break free from the echo chamber is to take control of your content.
Follow people who have different ideas than you do.
Try to hear more than one side to every story.
Try to understand why someone may feel the way they do.
And then sit on the information and make your own opinion.
Because that’s the beauty of having a brain, you can think what you want.
Most importantly, if you disagree with a point of view, know it’s ok to disagree and still be polite.
“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposing ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless yet be determined to make them otherwise.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
Break out of the echo chamber; perspective is how you make noise.
Please like, comment, share and tell me what you think. Do you think social media is an echo chamber?