In daily life, since we gain free access to surfing on the internet, we tend to fall into a pitfall that people are able to enter diverse platforms of media, thus the internet is being controlled by our hands over time. But is it really what we have perceived so far? To be more specific, on social media, do individuals truly have freedom to access the information like somebody else?
My answer is NO, because social media is an echo chamber. If you are an active user among different social media platforms, then you may perhaps glimpse how exactly social networks bring information together firstly and spread them out via slightly nuanced means. This means that social media feeds have become more and more homogenized that lead themselves to change into an echo chamber. In the world of social interaction, it’s no longer a world that objectively looks like it really is in reality. However, it’s such a space how you treat social media based on your feedback of revealing your interests and opinions on social networks. Hereby, social media platforms are full of subjective manipulations and the digital media application backstage.
What are Some Homogenization Phenomena on Digital Media?
Electronic media, particularly the streaming media such as Instagram and YouTube, differed from conventional printed media and encouraged large overlapping of information systems (Meyrowitz, 158). We can analyze this concept in two dimensions. Firstly, as for content creators on social networks, they often follow a similar logic and pattern to create posts. This is to say that the majority of creators tend to share a converging mode of thinking and specific means when posting new information on the internet.
For instance, on Instagram, I randomly found three different accounts posting feeds about animals (mainly dogs). What the similarity one can perceive here is that all of the three accounts imitate each other’s template, that is, mainly to create funny or interesting videos of dogs and put on the caption ‘POV’ stating the topic. Nevertheless, the greater homogenization emerges in these videos, the more the audience (let’s say animal lovers) are immersed in. Apparently, the acquainted pattern of creating a funny dog video sees through the group of animal lover’s preferences and interests. The dog content followers naturally have the willingness to buy a ticket for their beloved bloggers.
In the second place, when speaking for the audience’s side, it’s easily noticeable that people with common characteristics integrate into the same collective. In other words, the information system of digital media (or especially social media) encourages individuals to consistently identify with the ones who think, behave, and perhaps become like them. Let’s use the example of the dog content creators again here. Those followers will be recommended highly corresponding feeds via Instagram’s algorithms on back-stage. As long as the behavior of giving likes to these attractive animals content, it will also be enhanced through digital media’s information systems.
Thus, the platform will reinforce what users prefer to read, and this will then become an information loop in which all the time one sees the contents they are attracted to and engages with people who take to the same hobby. In the case of dog content creators, their followers tend to be grouped in a community filled with lovely dogs and amazing relationships between humans and animals.
The way Digital Media Makes our Lives Full of Homogenization
In conclusion, the information system of digital media highlights homogenization as a remarkable feature, critically engaging with their targeted audiences. Through primarily manipulating overlapping pattern of the content and grouping users in a collective via algorithms, digital media provides us a space of homogenization on the internet.
At the moment, can you think about the question again: do people truly have freedom surfing online in a way controlled only by themselves?
Meyrowitz, Joshua. American homogenization and fragmentation: The influence of new information systems and disinformation systems. na, 2006.