Breaking out of the echo chamber

October 7, 2016 12:14 pm Published by

How reaching new audiences is the biggest challenge in a democratised media landscape

In the last couple of weeks, we hosted our second Radio//Future Sounds event in partnership with totallyradio.com. Part of the Brighton Digital Festival, our event brings together the people who are utilising the potential of new technologies to shape the future of content sharing – from audio storytelling to new music and curated radio.

Over the past decade, digital technologies have revolutionised both the production and accessibility of content in all its forms. Now, pretty much anyone with a story to tell and access to a smartphone can make and post written, audio or visual content. What we read, watch and listen to is no longer controlled by a small number of large institutions.

There is certainly much to celebrate in this newly democratised media landscape. Not only has there been an explosion in the number and diversity of voices that can be heard, whole communities that were once poorly represented are now able to reflect themselves. The old barriers to entry are no longer relevant. As Imriel Morgan (@imimorgan) from ShoutOUtNetwork and Melanin Millennials said, “We’d had enough of being tolerated at the table, so we made our own table.”

But maybe the biggest challenge for this new wave of digital creators is developing and expanding an audience. Many start by sharing their content through existing communities and social media networks and this can be highly effective, but as a result, we are increasingly living in our own individual echo chambers, only hearing the opinions of like minded people.

Much of the discussion at this year’s Radio//Future Sounds centred around these challenges. But it seems perhaps that the biggest challenge lying ahead is ensuring that audiences still have opportunities to break out of their echo chambers, and connect with voices and opinions that aren’t always their own.

For more information and to listen again to podcasts of debates and discussions from the day go to http://radiofuturesounds.org.

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This post was written by Vicki Hughes