Social media entraps you in extremism or frees from it?

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Nobody would have imagined the future of Mark Zuckerberg to get grilled by Congress 10 years ago when Facebook was a just fun site to make new friends online. Ironically, the founder’s testimony showed how powerful is the social network platform and its potential threat.

The socio-political impact of social media is far from a new subject. Probably the most important and controversial topic among its sub-categories may be its echo chamber effect. The echo chamber is a metaphor which represents a closed system of social media where a homogeneous opinion reverberates as a sound echoes in a real one. For example, a Republican supporter on Facebook has a high possibility to see news which reinforces her ready-made political opinion because the news which they see there is chosen based on her preference or that of her friends who may share the same viewpoint.

Many researchers have reported pieces of evidence that the echo chamber exacerbates political extremism.

However, now everyone agrees that the social media is the place where homophily proliferates. Some of us already expressed it based on the rule of thumb.

Some argue the exact opposite of the assertion that social network exacerbates the social extremism by its echo chamber effect. They contend that the social media actually helps people to open to the diversity.

 

So, what will be the best choice we can make in between these two opposing explanations? I can suggest two: recognize the limitation of your media in use and try to diverse them as much as possible.

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One thought on “Social media entraps you in extremism or frees from it?

  1. I’m so guilty of putting myself in an echo chamber on my private accounts such as Facebook and Instagram, where I choose who I accept friend requests from and who I let follow me. If it’s my personal space online where I go to see friends and memes, I don’t need differing opinions. On Twitter, where I feel the most debate and discussion occurs, I am more open to reading other points of view….. most times.

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