Sunday, December 11, 2016

Is social media use by the individual, nothing more than an echo chamber?

Given all that has taken place in 2016 with social media, it occurred to me that maybe social media use by the consumer, not business mind you, is nothing more than an echo chamber.

What do I mean by that?

I mean that in the final analysis, people will tend to connect with those family members, friends, and strangers that share like convictions, beliefs, and political affiliations for example.  In that environment, political beliefs, news stories, etc. that reflect their view of the world become shared. 

Never mind that the source of the news or open is created by a fake news source. It got a life of its own and shared across the social media channels of the circle that shares that same perception or belief.  

There is little room for differing opinion or facts that are incongruent with the understanding or attitudes leading to a loss of critical thinking and examination. The potential exists for manipulation by various groups and organizations with little accountability that can slant the facts to fit the narrative.

Now that being said, that is what business use of social media entails. Find these groups to sell product or services.  A topic we are not considering today.

But the bigger question here is, does social media as an echo chamber benefit society and improve the culture and discourse? 

I would say that the answer to that question is no. If anything, individual’s use of social media within that echo chamber will drive more division, disruption, and polarization. We all lose when the discussion becomes one-sided, and people only see their opinion as being the only truth.

In the end, it still comes down to the individual’s sense of responsibility and accountability. And the ability to think for themselves critically while understanding that someone disagreeing with you is healthy. It does open up one to new ideas and viewpoints not considered. 

Is that such a bad thing?

I don’t know what’s going to happen. Will others will begin to realize that social media across the world is becoming nothing more than an echo chamber, leading to increased polarization of thought, ideas and fostering a lack of critical thinking? 

For that, we are worse off as a society and civilization.  Lemmings running to fall off the cliff from which there may be no return.


Michael is a healthcare marketing business, marketing, and communications strategist and thought leader.  As an internationally followed healthcare marketing strategy blogger, his blog, Healthcare Marketing Matters receives over 20,000 page views a month and read in 52 countries.  He is a Fellow, American College of Healthcare Executives, Professional Certified Marketer, American Marketing Association and HubSpot Academy- Email Marketing, Inbound Marketing & Inbound Sales Certified. Post opinions are my own.
For more topics and thought leading discussions like this, join his group, Healthcare Marketing Leaders For Change, a LinkedIn Professional Group.

Tags: #hcmkt, #hcsm, #socialmedia #understanding #responsibility

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