Have social networks become an “echo chamber” of the same sensibility?

Devon Thomas

| John Maytham talks to journalist Mathew Blackman about voices in the digital age and what that means about the discourse and debates that constantly drag on social media.

Social media – the great divider. For or against, these platforms have provided an outlet for radically opposed parties to find each other, engage, and hopefully respect each other.

However, what should be a healthy debate has turned into anything but, says journalist Mathew Blackman.

Because of the algorithm, Blackman says, people have been grouped into what he called an “echo chamber” where a community of people with the same or similar opinions are only exposed to each other and a Healthy discussion is lost in a small online debate.

Blackman argues that instead of bringing people together in like-minded “villages” on social media, he would like to see it become a place like his “café” where people of different opinions and ideologies can hang out. Engage in healthy speech where every voice is heard.

Are these sites simply connecting people to what they love through the content and people they interact with or is it just building a culture of consistency?

Either way, Blackman brings up an important conversation about voices in the digital age and what that means about the discourse and debates that constantly drag on social media.

We live in very difficult times and in a difficult place in South Africa in that people seem to have lost the ability to communicate with each other, and because we are suffering from the scars of apartheid and the structural architecture of where we live, we very rarely meet people from different socio-economic and racial backgrounds…we lose our sense of politeness.

Mathew Blackman, journalist

This article first appeared on 702: Has social media become an ‘echo chamber’ of like-minded views?

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