Data Use, Technology, and Educational Leadership

On the #PLN echo chamber: An example from politics


Flickr: Jon Collier

One of my areas of research has involved administrators on Twitter. One of the concerns that I have raised is the issue of echo chambers. If Twitter really is about PLNs and learning, then we ought to see lots of topics, viewpoints, and debate. Effective learning involves creative friction. My analysis of administrators’ tweets raises some doubts about whether this is really happening, but there’s plenty of room for future research (and debate).

Here’s an example from the Wall Street Journal that compares liberal and conservative Facebook feeds. When you run into Uncle Don at the family BBQ and reunion and realize he’s a lunatic, maybe it’s not all him. Maybe it’s the algorithms and niche media markets. Maybe it’s also the ways in which you, me, and him live in a cyberbalkans. Opposing viewpoints can seem off base and other worldly, because it’s so much easier now to listen to people that are like us and to avoid people who are not.

Knowing this, let’s do more to talk to strangers and understand the values and experiences informing their opinions. See the world through another lens. Your learning and our democracy might benefit from it.


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This entry was posted on July 21, 2016 by and tagged , , , , .