Do you ever have those moments when you see a documentary or read a book and you feel your mind opens up to a completely new idea?

Last week I watched ‘Hypernormalisation’, a documentary about how we live in a post-truth age, where everything is presented to us as not real.

Quite a heavy subject!

But it wasn’t this, rather depressing, ‘fake life’ that caught my attention, but instead… relationships, and how they’re changing as we embrace technology and online communities.

A quote from the documentary says:

“You spend your days and nights on social media. But now, the algorithms are so strong and know so much about you that they only give you what they know you like. You have become trapped in an echo chamber. But all you hear is yourself”

I’m pretty selective with my social media ‘friends’. I used to justify this by not wanting anyone and everyone to see personal information about myself…but suddenly I found myself questioning: was that true?

Did I only choose people because I felt comfortable that they believe the same things as me?

Did I only want to follow a select few people on my facebook because I felt comfortable with the fact that they thought the same as me?

In many ways, I have to ask the same question of my “offline life”. Living in Brighton, and studying development at Uni, I’m constantly surrounded by people with the same ideas and thoughts about the world as me.

In the beginning this was refreshing…Finally! To be around people who share the same love for people, the planet and justice as me. I do love living in Brighton, where there are vegan restaurants, zero-waste shops and passionate activists what seems like everywhere I go!

However…

When we only engage in dialogue with people who have similar opinions to us, we miss out on understanding the bigger picture.

When we break out of our ‘echo chamber’ we learn more ourselves and we gain a better understanding of why people have different opinions.

In a world where we see increasing political and ethical division it can be really difficult to spot opportunities for constructive conversation (note the difference between a conversation, argument and rant!)

But we’ll try anyway – reaching out to people who think differently, broadening our horizons and giving ourselves the bigger picture. It starts with one conversation, one tweet, one meet-up.

Find out why people think differently to you, and question why you think the way you do. It may help you gain a better understanding of the world.