know your echo chamber

By the time you read this, you will be surrounded by marketing for the Wonder Woman film. Marketing others will insist is not happening.

They have created a narrative that the advertising plan for Wonder Woman is lacking, and no amount of evidence of the marketing will sway them.

I engaged one of those claiming the marketing was non-existent with photos of billboards,¬†product tie-ins, and even wrapping Nascar superstar Danica Patrick’s Car.

No dice. Photos were no match for”the majority” he claimed to have surveyed on Twitter.

There are laughs at the US President’s frequent use of the phrase “people are saying”, but it’s how everyone on social media collects their data. “My echo chamber agrees…”

You create this sphere of people who are inclined to agree, and then are shocked if you find out it is not a representative sample.

It has always been that way, of course, but real-life interactions make it difficult to excise those who disagree, so you seek detente. Social media is just a quick unfollow or block away from a newsfeed full of agreement.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Not knowing that you have done this, however, is decidedly problematic.

Forbes published an article in 2016 looking at how social media users will share articles without reading them, provided the headline supports the user’s pre-existing beliefs.

I saw this phenomenon years ago working in theatre. 90% of those around me were far left and they were SO sure conservatives wouldn’t win the provincial election that year. Everyone they knew was voting for a left-leaning party.

It was, not surprisingly to me, a conservative landslide. My peer group was confused because they didn’t know anyone who was voting that way.

No matter your political stripe, “I don’t know anyone¬†voting for the opposing candidate” should be a red flag. You are not seeing the full board.

You are inside an echo chamber.

This is not unique to US politics. We saw the same thing play out in Canadian politics, in the Scottish referendum, and in Brexit.

We asked for control of the content that enters our sphere.

We forgot to ask if that was a good idea.