Editorial: Students should be more aware of ‘filter bubbles’

For those who use social media, it’s very easy to get trapped in your own ideological bubble. Because we are able to curate our own news feeds, we can pick and choose the types of content we are exposed to. With social media algorithms that prioritize some content over others based on our online activity, it’s now even more challenging to avoid falling into our own echo chambers. These algorithms are a doubled-edged sword—while they allow us to take in the content that we care about and want to see, they also reinforce our beliefs.

The problem with echo chambers is the lack of exposure to ideas that may challenge our own. When we engage in behaviours such as deleting Facebook friends with different political views, or failing to consume media from a wide variety of sources, we lose opportunities to engage with opposing views. Challenging our own viewpoints is how we learn, and that can’t happen if we refuse to engage with new ideas from the outset. If you want to avoid echo chambers, don’t delete that one Facebook friend or Twitter follower of yours whose views you disagree with. You might learn something new, and you’ll end up with new perspectives to consider.

Social media has the power to expose us to loads of new viewpoints. It’s never been easier to connect with different people with different ideologies. So, it’s important that we take advantage of that, and that our social media habits reflect a desire to learn and be engaged.