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JEG Perspective: Breaking Through the Echo Chamber of Self-Curated News

The story of the baby at the Trump rally, as with many of the news events during this current election cycle, offers a stark contrast among the stories published by various news outlets. Depending on your point of view and the political leanings among your friends and family, it is very likely that you only saw one of the above headlines.

The public’s, and even policymakers’, ability to self-curate their news not only happens when we choose one newspaper or news channel over another, it is exacerbated by the ways we engage in social media. According to the Pew Research Center, 62 percent of US adults get news on social media. This means that the seemingly innocuous decisions we make on whose Tweets we laugh at more or whose Facebook posts we follow control how we consume not just news about the election but news on every subject. We have created very effective echo chambers.

Communications strategies are designed to help you reach all key audiences, but these echo chambers make once-reliable strategies ineffective. To break down these barriers it is important to keep a few things in mind.

  1. Use social media to your advantage. Sometimes the poison is the cure. Knowing how to leverage social media means understanding the key social media mavens for a message. If you want different groups to hear what you have to say, you need to target a diverse group of influencers to make that message go far.

  2. Package the message knowing the words will change. It has always been important to ensure your message can be fluid enough to resonate with different audiences, but the message now goes through more subjective filters. Make sure your point is clear no matter who has reposted it in 140 characters.

  3. Keep your own mind open. The echo chambers affect us all, making it easy to dismiss an audience that can be important to a campaign or marketing. There may be a situation where you must give up on an audience, but do not allow your own perspective to skew your approach.

If current trends persist, these divisions are likely to increase, so it will be more important than ever to leverage your strategy so it echoes in the chambers you want.

For more information on communication strategies, please contact The Jeff Eller Group. For a clear understanding of how divided social media news can be on the election and other important topics, check out Red Feed, Blue Feed by The Wall Street Journal. For a dose of much-needed humor, here is a piece from The Onion.