What is an Echo Chamber?
Echo chambers are a symbolic place where people’s preconceived ideas are intensified by repetition and alternative opinions are eschewed. In an echo chamber the only voices one hears are those they want to hear. The echoes get louder, and the chamber gets bigger, and what’s left is just one side of an argument telling itself it’s correct over and over again, until nothing else can be heard.
How Do Echo Chambers Form?
An echo chamber can be simplified as someone only getting information from one source, or type of source. As such, people are stuck inside a metaphorical closed room, where all they hear is their own viewpoints thrown back at them, rather than proper critical thought. Examples of this in the modern world include various social media platforms. Whereas in the past, people might read a newspaper that had a variety of differing opinions, now someone can easily find and subscribe to a person or media source who provides information that fits with their already-held view. Thus, the digital information age has provided very fertile ground for echo chambers across a great many topics. It would be easy to assume that access to almost limitless information would improve critical thinking, and while in some cases that has happened, examples abound of situations where quite the opposite might be true.