Were you surprised at the Brexit result? Didn’t see it coming? Perhaps your Facebook timeline and Twitter stream erupted into a collective outpouring of shock and sadness when the UK voted to leave. Sound familiar? The opinions of our friends and those who we follow on social networks generally mirror our own, meaning that – thanks to some clever algorithms – we’re all trapped in a filter bubble. So how to escape the digital bubble – and access ideas outside of your usual social sphere? Enter The Echo Chamber – a groundbreaking new weekly newsletter which will make you think. Alice Thwaite -The Echo Chamber’s founder – tells us more…
What’s The Echo Chamber all about?
The Echo Chamber Club is a weekly newsletter. We understand what the majority of people believe and we directly challenge that status quo. We don’t tend to write much ourselves, instead we curate articles written from other sources and encourage our subscribers to read them.
Who’s The Echo Chamber for?
It is for educated metropolitans. Most people who live in cities have fairly liberal and centrist beliefs – and The Echo Chamber Club monitors social media to understand what is being shared in this group and then challenges it.
Why did you start the Echo Chamber?
The concept of an ‘echo chamber’ or ‘filter bubble’ has been around for a few years. Eli Pariser (founder of Upworthy) wrote a book in 2012 which showed that social media algorithms are engineered so that you see more of the stories that you normally engage with. So someone who is naturally centrist would not see stories or opinions of people on the fringe on their social media feeds.
This was once a theory, and now it’s turned into a political reality. “Quiet conservatives” were blamed for the polling industry inability to predict the outcome of the 2015 election. Most recently, Brexit took many metropolitans by surprise.
For ages, I tried to think of a solution to this problem. It seemed so huge, and the social networks such giants, that it was impossible to solve. Ironically, when I removed myself from my normal surroundings I thought of an idea, and I realised a weekly newsletter might be just the thing to help people get out of their filter bubble. The Echo Chamber Club was launched merely weeks afterwards.
What can I expect to find in the weekly newsletter?
We like to cover things that either have a clear media bias on the subject – like issues like ‘safe spaces’, the burkini, Brexit; or subjects that aren’t covered in the media at all, like the potential genocide in Burundi.
Why should I care about seeing someone else’s point of view?
A lot of media organisations want to make you smarter – and we want to help with that too – but actually our main aim is to make you more empathetic. We want to help people access new ideas. Many educated people struggle with Twitter; let alone with RSS and Reddit. We’ll put in the hours of research so that our subscribers can start with the best contrary articles to their point of view. We will help with your natural sense of curiosity and adventure! In doing so, we hope the leaders of today and tomorrow will make better predictions and decisions about the future of their businesses and policies.