A New Platform That Helps You Break The Echo Chamber
By Joan Hanawi
March 21, 2017
A few months ago, I was on the phone with one of our clients. We were still in that beautiful blue sky stage of the project where all ideas are fair game, and our client couldn’t stop talking about the untapped potential to break out of our echo chambers.
What he meant by “echo chamber” is the formation—whether intentional or not—of communities that reinforce what we already believe. With the rise of social media, algorithms and formulas feed us content that we purport to like, filtering away the topics that we don’t lend our attention to. And while this may lead to more clicks, it isn’t always the most conducive environment for cultivating healthy dialogue. When we’re given the option of not just disagreeing, but not even seeing what we don’t agree with, we can unknowingly retreat even further into our comfort zones. Our bubbles, if you will.
Turns out that we weren’t the only ones thinking about echo chambers. Shortly after our conversation, The Wall Street Journal put out an interactive graphic that illustrated how drastically different a side-by-side conservative and liberal news feed could look.
Regardless of your political leanings, I think the most recent election has sharpened our zeitgeist. And if it’s highlighted anything at all, I believe it’s demonstrated that we might not listen as well as we think we do. And part of that might be because we don’t always have spaces to earnestly engage with those who don’t think the way we do.
That’s why, when I heard about the concept behind Unbubble, I was immediately hooked. Claiming to be a “non-partisan, non-commercial, non-profit, non-ideological project,” Unbubble will create groups of 100 people to collectively step outside their comfort zones as they form mini-Americas. Individuals from all walks of life are invited to participate—no matter where they stand politically, economically, demographically, or socially.
It’s almost a new kind of social network, one that connects you to the people you don’t share any common ground with, rather than the ones you do. I just signed up, and I’m excited to see what it takes to burst my bubble. Want to join me?