The beginning of the brand new 12 months brings inevitable strain to start out recent, with new hobbies, train regimes and wholesome diets. However there may be one eating regimen you could not have considered enhancing this 12 months: your media and information consumption.

It’s not simple to remain knowledgeable as of late. Now we have extra entry to data than ever, however not all of it’s good high quality. Media publications are accused of bias. False tales go viral in seconds. And misinformation generated by synthetic intelligence might seem in our feeds.

Many individuals get their information on social media. These platforms have algorithms and rankings that create filter bubbles, wherein customers are uncovered to a tailor-made or customized number of data on a sure matter, which can be furthering polarization.

Folks have a tendency to pick out and devour media and data that echoes their very own pre-existing beliefs. This may be because of the publications and commentators they select to observe, or due to the algorithms managed by platforms.

A latest overview of the analysis on this matter, nevertheless, means that audiences will not be as polarized as beforehand thought. And algorithms may very well assist improve the number of sources somebody would entry independently.

Regardless of this, it may well nonetheless be troublesome to wade by means of the numerous sources, voices and opinions – notably as individuals who maintain very sturdy beliefs are usually extra vocal on-line. Listed here are a couple of ideas that can assist you construct a extra assorted and high-quality media eating regimen.

1) Be interested by different viewpoints

Social media and personalization algorithms feed customers extra of the identical, to be able to maintain them engaged. This could imply that incorrect data is included, as long as it suits the narrative of what the consumer desires to click on on.

If one thing you come throughout on-line suits neatly in your pre-existing narrative, it might be the results of a strategy of self-selection, mixed with algorithmic personalization.

You may fight this by consuming data from numerous sources. Learn articles from information retailers with a political alignment totally different from your personal. Click on on articles that will not be your traditional fare. This will likely additionally assist “trick” an algorithm into feeding you extra sources you wouldn’t in any other case come throughout.

2) Hold an eye fixed out for attention-seeking

Now greater than ever, you will need to pay attention to our personal biases, and have a look at social and political points with the purpose of seeing issues the best way they’re, reasonably than recognizing the enemy. Be a scout, not a soldier.

Keep in mind that what you learn on-line may not be a mirrored image of what individuals assume, however what they assume will entice extra consideration (and upset extra individuals). A 2022 examine discovered, that in an try to achieve a larger following, individuals expressed amplified variations of their precise opinions. Take note of who’s “shouting” their opinion, and who is solely sharing.

Hold an open thoughts and do hearken to the varied arguments, however don’t bask in anyone excessive view with out difficult it with others.

3) Acknowledge and share balanced sources

The authors of the 2022 examine discovered that social media platforms may scale back polarization by flooding the “data setting” (customers’ social media feeds) with balanced sources. In fact, most customers can not produce balanced information, nor can we predict what the algorithm will suggest. Nonetheless, we will acknowledge bias within the information and actively attempt to counteract it by sharing different, dependable sources.

Analysis means that social media customers are extra conscious and significant of the information they learn when they’re requested to assume critically and fee it. As a substitute of simply scrolling by means of and clicking to the following article, take a second to ask your self questions on what you’ve simply learn. What did you study? Who’re the sources within the article? What do you continue to not perceive?

4) Watch out for sturdy feelings

Publishers and social media corporations do their utmost to try to elicit sturdy feelings in customers, notably feelings that make them really feel optimistic or detrimental arousal (awe vs. anger). It is because information that elicits these feelings is extra more likely to go viral.

For those who come throughout content material that prompts a robust emotional response, earlier than reacting, ask your self: is there something in how this content material is introduced that’s designed to make me really feel this fashion? Is it useful for me to really feel this fashion? You might discover that the feelings you are feeling drive you to take motion for a trigger you care about. Or, you could discover that your feelings are inflicting you to miss questionable data and sourcing.

A great way to examine the credibility of a selected supply is to learn different articles by the identical supply, and search for proof of inaccurate data or overblown headlines. You may as well examine to see if the identical story has been reported on websites are respected.

You may additionally need to add fact-checking accounts and well-respected journalists to your media eating regimen, following them on social media or subscribing to their newsletters.


Sharon Coen is an Reader/ Affiliate professor in Media Psychology on the College of Salford.

This text is republished from The Dialog beneath a Inventive Commons license. Learn the unique article.

Photograph by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 on Unsplash.

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