I read a few posts this week regarding the “echo chamber” and “filtering” in regards to social media networking and reading information online (via my Twitter feed). Aviva Dunsiger wrote about the importance of connecting with those who challenge our thinking and present us with new ideas to chew on. Doug Peterson wrote about reading, accessing, and storing information online and through our social media networks. He also featured an article that helps the awareness about “snake oil” in a PLN. The article and Doug’s post offer good guidance about the information we process and who/what we choose to read via social networks. At the time of my reading it, I found the comments added by Brandon and Lisa very valuable and insightful as well.
I think we all use different strategies to make our online and social media experiences personally suitable and I suspect those strategies change continually — people read and share online for different and varied purposes. I am not sure what contributes the most to an “echo chamber” — maybe a number of things. Social media itself keeps changing how information is received and shared as well. I find I continually reflect why and how I am using social media, as well as about what I share. I think it is easy for an individual to feel that what they share is not on the radar of anyone and that it would be much easier and more comfortable to just “lurk” and read. But then does that just allow for the “big” content sharers to keep being the big “content” sharers and/or “thought leaders”?
I think decisions about what to share (of ourselves and of others) is often impacted by a concern about one’s own “brand” and/or about how one might be perceived by others in these spaces. We could also be very unaware just how much we might miss about a topic or a side to a story, even if we think our networks are diverse and openly sharing. Also, we all choose how deep we dig into any particular topic or story. Last week I read this article and interview with Gabor Maté, “How Capitalism Makes Us Sick”. His points about the internet caused me to ponder. For example,
And the Internet, whether it’s the amount of information or the way it’s accessible, it may actually be causing people to remain more on the surface than actually digging into ideas.”
So with that and add in the possible pressures to be positive and considerate about a reputation in social media, such as suggested in this article, it does make we wonder a lot about what we are tailoring and filtering for and of ourselves in these spaces.
I guess we are all still figuring it out… as users, learners, networkers, promoters, and products in online/social media spaces. It’s complicated for adults too. Or is it just me? If anyone reads this to the end… :)