The internet provides nearly instantaneous access to the entire lexicon of human knowledge. Just about everything that has ever been written on any subject is at our fingertips, just a few thumb swipes away.
Our smartphones would be indistinguishable from magic for any person living just a few decades ago.
Drag your thumb across the screen and tap—here’s the Bible, the Quran, and the Vedas in 100 languages; every article ever written in the New York Times and Washington Post; Reuters, Russia Today, and Al Jazeera; everything from the American Journal of Science to InfoWars.com.
The amount of information we have access to is overwhelming and unprecedented.
An obvious problem arises: How do we sort through it all? How do we know what’s true? How do we know who to trust?
The answer: We don’t sort through it. We don’t know what’s true. We trust the people who tell us what we want to hear.
That might sound like a fatalistic outlook—but it’s true. Studies reveal that people are dramatically more likely to read articles that affirm their preconceived beliefs. And while that may be worrisome in its own right, it’s only half the story.
The real game-changer is this: Increasingly, people don’t even see opposing views at all.
Our personal experience of the internet is tailored to mirror our beliefs.
First, we self-select a social circle that parrots our deeply ingrained beliefs. Then our natural habits of confirmation bias train the algorithms that control the internet to feed us information we’re already primed to believe.
We engage with that content, validating and reinforcing the algorithm’s curation strategy. Content that challenges or contradicts our beliefs rarely makes its way to our screens.
If you want to succeed in the digital frontier, you need to understand how the echo chamber effect works for—or against—your message.
Because the algorithms that govern the internet are curating content based on users’ preconceived ideas, you can forget about persuading people with your message. With very rare exceptions, that’s a fool’s errand.
It’s working against the algorithm. What you need to do is use the algorithm to get your content in front of people already primed to engage with it. Let the algorithm feed your content into the echo chamber—that’s the best ROI you can achieve. It’s the secret to getting results your competitors can’t dream of.
While your competition is crafting content with boring facts no one cares about, you’re serving people your message wrapped in the gossip and groupthink they’re obsessed with. It’s a pretty simple concept. In execution, however… it’s complex.
Do you know how to pinpoint a hyper-specific audience—with hundreds of shared traits and affinities? Do you know how to craft content that uses the specific words and phrases the algorithm prioritizes for this audience? Do you know how to decode their secret language?
Once you can say yes to those questions, you’re ready to speak into the echo chamber.
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