Avoiding The Social Media Echo Chamber

When it comes to spreading information or ideas, social media has a potential problem. Your social networks can be an echo chamber.

Consider this. Aside from friends in real life, who do you follow on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.? People with common interests, right? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t go out of your way to seek the opposing viewpoint.

But if you’re the one using a social tool to spread an idea, what good does it to you to preach to the converted?

Is the best we can hope for that our audience will seek unbiased information and eventually find their way to us? Is unbiased information even discernible to most on the internet?

There are ways to use social tools to spread an idea, even to those people who may not necessarily be looking to hear it. Social media does not have to be an echo chamber.

Shareworthy Content

While it may not be likely that those who are uninformed about your issue will seek you out, there are ways you can reach them. The most important thing you can do is to have shareworthy content. Each one of your followers has his/her own network. Each one has their own level of influence with people who might not yet know what you want them to know. But you can’t rely on them to do all the work.

You have to give them something worth sharing.

Maybe that’s new information. Maybe it’s an easy-to-understand graphic depicting the problem you seek to solve. Make it easy for your followers to spread your message, and you’ll have a better chance of reaching new eyeballs.

Back To Basics

The fastest way to get a new person to tune you right out is to speak your industry jargon. If you get new eyeballs on your content, you need to make sure that content is understandable to someone who isn’t you.

We tend to overestimate the degree to which those people who are familiar with our topic will get frustrated with basic language. Our loyal followers won’t mind the basics. And it’s the basics that will help open the eyes of someone who doesn’t know our issue yet.

Make It Personal

Why would someone new to your issue care about it? You have to put it in terms they can relate to. Yes, we’d all like to believe that people will be interested just because your cause is captivating and important. But the fact is that people tend to get involved when they understand an issue in their own terms.

I’ll use local government as an example. In my town, we had a serious problem with parents not understanding local government and not voting. Budgets were failing. Schools were underfunded. And parents were the group that showed up in lowest numbers to vote.

Using Facebook, we began to reach out to parents to help them understand why these local elections and budget votes mattered to them. Is your child’s class larger than you expected? Not enough language classes offered to be competitive?

These are issues parents can relate to. And they did.

Your content is not going to spread like wildfire overnight. But if you consistently provide shareable, understandable content that people new to your cause can understand, you’ll grow and audience and avoid the echo chamber.

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