Author: Elma Jenkins

Building the Virtual Echo Chamber

[Note on the author: Elma Jenkins works in project support for the RHEA Group. Elma is currently a student on the City, University of London Writing for Business short course which started in May 2018. She wrote this blog as part of a homework/in-class exercise on that course.]

Society is addicted to new media – Google, newsfeeds, tweets and targeted ads – which have been widely blamed for creating more dividing lines in society. Certainly they have brought the psychology of human decision making into politics. No doubt there are groups out there who are being paid to explore this realm. But can new media really manipulate, or is it just clever PR?

More people are sharing their data online than ever before, and the growth is projected to continue into 2020 (Statista, 2017):

Increasingly local knowledge is being digitized, with a proliferation of data portals such as Wikipedia; digital literature collections such as Project Gutenberg; crowd sourcing sites such as Quora; and open data sites such as data.gov.uk. They show a trend towards digitization in government and society but the general public has very little understanding as to how and what gets digitized and, crucially, who decides. A lot of what gets put online is not really useful: it can even be outright misleading. The battle for our attention online has only just begun.