Article

Julia Deutsch
Julia Deutsch 15 March 2016

Is The Internet Making Us Narrow Minded?

We don’t often think about how our use of the internet can affect the views that we hold. It may be the case that personalisation and social media are making us more narrow minded.

We all use it every day, it has revolutionised our lives and we rarely, if ever, stop to think about exactly how this affects us. What is it, you ask? The internet.

Our use of the internet and social media could in fact be making us more narrow minded.

We discuss how personalisation, “echo chambers” and social media are all constantly reinforcing our views when we are online.

The internet and narrow mindedness

The internet is a global system that consists of millions of inter-connecting networks, providing information on a local and global scale. So how do we explore this information?

It may seem obvious to state that the internet can allow us to come into contact with new information, completely beyond our norm. However, as the web becomes increasingly tailored to the individual, a lot of information we consume online is linked to our current interests and browsing habits.

The move towards internet personalisation could seem beneficial for both consumers and advertisers:

  • Netflix creates and pushes films and shows based on our viewing habits.
  • Facebook tailors our newsfeeds to those who we routinely interact with.
  • Twitter suggests people we may want to follow based on who our peers are.

But, is this restricting us unnecessarily? This personalisation means the information we are presented with is becoming more and more limited.

“Echo Chambers” and narrow mindedness

Why could this be a bad thing? We, as humans, already gravitate towards others that share our views and perspective. Researchers have dubbed this sentiment, “echo chambers” or “echo rooms.”

If we surround ourselves with voices that “echo” our own, 
our opinions are reinforced.

This terminology comes from the theory that if we surround ourselves with voices that “echo” our own, our opinions are reinforced. Following from this, our perception can become distorted as to what is the status quo versus fringe opinion.

Echo chambers are not just an offline phenomenon, but also can be nurtured by social media sites such as Facebook.

Woman-not-listening-photograph.jpg

Facebook and social media narrow mindedness

Rather than becoming worldlier, social media allows people to actively choose to congregate in opinion-affirming groups. The danger of this is that any bias or misinformation we hold can be amplified when we interact in our restricted echo rooms.

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has traced both the rumour that global warming doesn’t exist and the belief that vaccines cause autism back to Facebook. This shows that “the way in which common ideas are shared and reinforced”, in this case via social media, plays a part in explaining how certain beliefs enter mainstream thought.

On top of this, the increasing personalisation of our online environments arguably means our opinions are being reinforced even more regularly when we are using the internet than when we are offline.

Can we combat online echo rooms?

Although from a humanistic approach, we hopefully always want to learn and discover, the personalisation of the internet is making it harder for us. There is no need for us to willingly expose ourselves to anything that wildly differs from our own views or causes internal or external confrontation.

There is no need for us to willingly expose ourselves to anything that wildly 
differs from our own views.

So what can we do? We have to be proactive. To be able to combat the effects of our online echo rooms, we should actively open ourselves up to different, varying and opposing sources of information, opinions and perspectives.

Contact Us

What are your thoughts on the effects of personalisation and social media on narrow mindedness? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so please get in touch.

Read Original Article Here

Mark Steve
Mark Steve

Very nice post! Thanks for sharing it.

Please login or register to add a comment.

Contribute Now!

Loving our articles? Do you have an insightful post that you want to shout about? Well, you've come to the right place! We are always looking for fresh Doughnuts to be a part of our community.

Popular Articles

See all
Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

Digital Marketing Vs. Traditional Marketing: Which One Is Better?

What's the difference between digital marketing and traditional marketing, and why does it matter? The answers may surprise you.

Julie Cave
Julie Cave 14 July 2016
Read more
4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

4 Important Digital Marketing Channels You Should Know About

It goes without saying that a company can't do without digital marketing in today's world.

Digital Doughnut Contributor
Digital Doughnut Contributor 5 November 2014
Read more
5 Off-Page Methods to Improve Your Page's Position on Google

5 Off-Page Methods to Improve Your Page's Position on Google

On-page SEO is one of the things that is on the mind of every website owner out there, and there is a good reason for that. It is one of the key factors based on which Google will rank your website, along with other factors, such as backlinks, or the quality of your content.

Joan Selby
Joan Selby 20 April 2017
Read more
How digital and direct mail became best friends

How digital and direct mail became best friends

The propaganda from digital marketeers said direct mail was dead. Now they’re retreating with their tails between their legs begging to be let back in. After all, the already powerful direct mail can have even more impact when paired with digital. But how are the digital natives returning to direct mail and why?

David Amor
David Amor 26 April 2017
Read more
5 essentials of an agile content contingency plan

5 essentials of an agile content contingency plan

Theresa May’s decision to call a snap election should be a wake up call to any organisation that isn’t able to respond to unpredictable events

Miles Kendall
Miles Kendall 24 April 2017
Read more