In 2021, Can We Mix Up Our Media Diet?

Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles aren't helping us.

It turns out that - for at least the last five years – we've all mostly been living in Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles, i.e., being exposed to the same type of information that we believe in (news, entertainment, communication) day in and day out.

I flattered myself into thinking that because I am a journalist who thinks about these things, I was different. But an honest reckoning about my information diet revealed that I mostly:

  • H R Venkatesh, Media Buddhi, Media Literacy, Media Literacy Project, Media Literacy India, media polarisation, media coverage, digital freedomLike, Comment and Share only those Facebook posts of people who are mostly like me.
  • Read the tweets of mostly people like me.
  • Talk to folks on WhatsApp who are similar to me.
  • Read the same publications on the internet that I've done for the past decade on my computer and cell phone.
  • Read the same kind of non-fiction that people like me read.

And so on. You get the picture. I don't have to define 'people like me'. You probably have your own version of it.

This year, in an effort to better understand different perspectives, I'm thinking about seeking conversations with people who are completely different. Let's see where that leads.

This week, my video tackles this very topic with examples. I try to define Echo Chambers and Filter Bubbles, and I ask if YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Google Search, television, Twitter, newspapers, Instagram and Gmail are examples of Filter Bubbles or Echo Chambers. Or neither.

I also talk about why it is dangerous for us to be exposed only to a media diet that echoes our own views every day. The video is based a little bit on this piece here in September.

Here's the video on YouTube. (Yes, we operate on the same platforms that work as filter bubbles, and yes, I appreciate the irony.)

Note: This piece was originally published on our substack website.

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