Are you inclusive or exclusive on social media?
Depending on how you use social media, it can be a tool to reinforce inclusion, or exclusion.
Forming cliques is natural human behavior. It’s natural to find your tribe and engage with each other publicly online. It’s natural for us to yearn for a sense of belonging. It’s ok.
Online communities have the power of fostering a sense of belonging. With that in mind, it’s harder than we think to take a step back and consider the impact of how we act. It’s a choice you make along the spectrum with staying in your echo chamber on one end and being open to others on the other.
I’ve felt estranged from a community I thought I was a part of, just because the online (version of the) community did not include me. It’s not about hypersensitivity. Many studies show we attach meaning to these social cues and its impact on our well being.
I happen to be on the spectrum where I enjoy using social media to reinforce existing relationships, as well as widen the pool of perspectives to be heard. An in between. And for that, I will listen to anyone. The differences in views are what makes social media beautiful.
My take, here’s how to shift how you use social media to fit how you would like it’s purpose to lean towards.
To include: make the account public, bring diversity into your content, have open social cues (allow tagging in pictures, acknowledge those who engage)
For exclusivity or an intentional echo chamber: have a pool of curators/an identifier (an icon members use). Maybe a closed door forum unless you’re gunning for the perception of a cheerleader bench as the outcome.
(It makes me sad that hashtags could be exclusive, for reasons unintended like compliance…)
So, how to break out of the ‘echo chamber’? I’d say, be more proactive.
Extend your search — challenge the platform’s algorithm. Comment/retweet others outside your “bubble”. I feel that Extreme Characters / Users (in the case of design thinking) are a good approach in this case: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_users