Escaping the Echo Chamber

over 5 years ago from , Senior Designer at Markit Digital

I just had an idea I'd like to share with you! Let me know what you think.

The Problem: People tend to join online communities with like-minded people. This is good on the one hand, but it can result in an echo chamber. Opinions we disagree with get "Removed From My Newsfeed." Again and again, we hear only what we want to hear. More extreme ideas appear more reasonable by context. And we often react with disgust towards those we disagree with because we fail to see things from another perspective. Many people, especially in American politics, have lost the ability to respectfully disagree with one another.

The Idea: Sign up for a web service, and tell it your opinions on various issues. Every week, it will email you 5 thoughtfully written articles from the opposite perspective, for you to consider. Approach with an open mind, and even if you become more convinced of your own opinions after reading, you will be more informed.

What do you think? Would you subscribe to something like this? Any ideas for how this could be better, or other ways to help people break out of their own self-imposed echo chambers?


  • Th. MTh. M, over 5 years ago


    3 points
    • Ian WilliamsIan Williams, over 5 years ago

      Your avatar makes me laugh in this situation. I'm sure it's funny in 1000 more. Do you always contribute the painfully obvious?

      (I really like the OPs idea btw)

      0 points
  • Sean LesterSean Lester, over 5 years ago (edited over 5 years ago )

    I don't know how I feel about this particular solution, but you're right - people self-ghettoize in respects to the content they consume and the minds they interact with. The problem that needs to be solved is that humans are more invested in feeling right than finding truth. I don't know if you can teach that, or if people will elect to have their paradigm challenged regularly.

    3 points
    • Phil Rau, over 5 years ago

      I'm hoping that the curation aspect of this could help people decide that its worth their time.

      I'm not willing to trudge through all of articles I disagree with, but if someone pointed me to a few really thoughtful articles on a topic, I think I could find time for that.

      0 points
  • Elizabeth AdamsElizabeth Adams, over 5 years ago

    I have been tossing around similar ideas to combat ridiculousness online, and when I've tested some value props on a few folks, the thing that I hear overwhelmingly is, "the people that are most likely to think this is a useful idea are not part of the problem." In other words, if you're willing to see another perspective (and have a few delivered to your inbox periodically), you aren't likely included in the demographic that is being targeted, ie "people who are caught in an echo chamber." Make sense? What do you think?

    1 point
    • Phil Rau, over 5 years ago

      Definitely makes sense, and I see this as one of the biggest barriers for a service like this to be successful.

      Its like trying to market medicine to people who don't feel sick. Essentially, the site would have to start out by convincing the user that they have a problem, a problem that they might not be able to self-diagnose. This is an extremely hard sell, most especially for those people who only see opinions they agree with.

      Not sure how to solve this problem.

      0 points
  • Julian LengfelderJulian Lengfelder, over 5 years ago

    "Good designers want to be proven right, great designers want to be proven wrong"

    Can't remember where this quote is from/by though.

    0 points
  • Lee Fuhr, over 5 years ago

    Well I think this is a lovely idea. I would subscribe.

    0 points