On the importance of widespread exposure



Jack Fitzpatrick

One of the best parts about social media is the ability that users have to customize their feed. As such, the same apps/networks become completely different experiences for different users. One individual might use Twitter as a tool with which to keep up with the news, while another might use it to keep tabs on their favorite celebrity crushes. This customization gives us, as users, assurance that when we open the app, we will be exposed to certain things—things that, most likely, we will be comfortable with. This is bad.

An important aspect of growth is the exposure to things with which you might not agree. This gives you the opportunity to question your own beliefs and either reinforce or change them. 

I spoke with a handful of friends about this notion specifically in the context of social media and the news. What I realized was that, almost without exception liberals admitted to reading news strictly from left-leaning sources, and vice versa for conservatives. While this is certainly better than abstaining from reading the news at all, I do take issue with it.

The reluctance for people to expose themselves to differing opinions is natural, but it’s important to overcome that discomfort. If all your time and energy is spent reading articles or books that only reinforce the opinions to which you already subscribe, you are essentially living in an echo chamber. To foster opinions without critically understanding the opposing argument is, frankly, ignorant. 

The best part about this problem? There’s an easy fix. The best way to understand the perspective of those who disagree with you is to hear them out. Read their articles. Listen. You don’t have to agree, but you should take the time to understand.