Break the Echo Chamber

March 10, 2017

written by  SIM

Were you shocked that so many people supported the Trump presidency? Do you find yourself pushing away people with differing perspectives? Finding your newsfeed a bit predictable? This could be happening because you are stuck in an echo chamber. The echo chamber is a social situation where you are surrounded by people who agree with you in most (if not all) the things you believe in. It’s  dangerous because it leads to damaging relationships, polarized social groups, and overall poor social interactions. If you ever wondered how a pitchfork wielding mob forms in a movie, this is how it happens. Breaking the echo chamber is crucial to a balanced well-being and a healthy society.

The algorithm in our social media newsfeed distributes information that we already tend to agree with.  We’re finding ourselves increasingly insular and intolerant of others.  Studies have shown that this happens because we generally view ourselves as a ‘good’ people.   When we hear about new thoughts, the needle on our compass of right and wrong starts immediately spinning toward a particular direction.   When we agree with something we automatically ascribe it into our understanding of the reality around us; everything else is discarded.  This, in turn, leads to cognitive dissonance; where we inherit disjointed ideas that upon further introspection, we’re finding they don’t make sense and unable to explain it to others because we never fully understood it to begin with.

Locking people into echo chambers has been a tool used by oppressive governments to stifle dissenting ideas in society. The tricky part of echo chambers is that most people don’t even realize they are part of it.  It takes an active effort by an individual to explore different perspectives. It requires setting your biases and emotions aside and actively listening to another perspective and discovering why people hold the beliefs they do.

 

 

 

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One comment on “Break the Echo Chamber

  1. Talha Apr 11, 2017

    Assalaamu alaikum Bro,

    I spent probably a good part of last two years conversing with people on the Alt-Right to find out what they were thinking – specifically on-line. To get out of my comfort zone. I was quite surprised by what i found out. It goes along a lot of what Sh. Joe Bradford said. There are many on the Alt-Right and Trump supporters who would love to have Muslims shipped overseas but many others are simply just looking out for their own marginalized communities – and, yes, they happen to be white. When has Islam ever not stood up for the little guy just because he was white or black, etc.?

    I was very honest with them (they actually appreciated that I came out strong with ‘Islam means submission’ and gave academic references for my claims) – no watering down and helped them clear a lot of misconceptions about Islam. Many of them actually respect certain aspects of it. This helped them be honest with me so I was able to get to the roots of what concerns them. Many are a bit apprehensive about Islam, but a lot of that stems from (which they admitted) coming from a civilization that has lost its gusto and direction and is fracturing. For them to have a people in their country that have a self-confidence and purpose (and are actually having kids) is understandably scary for them. Especially when you think about historically how Islamic population trends really only move in one direction.

    Anyway – some thoughts. May Allah (swt) give you guys success!

The Mad Mamluks © 2016