I had a discussion with a friend on global warming (specifically on polar bear populations) and when I mentioned that the polar bear population in Canada is increasing, not dwindling, she indignantly said, “That’s your truth.” It was factual information I was sharing and yes, facts & stats can be manipulated, but the dismissive way she reacted was a classic example of what Sean Blanda is discussing in his very interesting article.
His article supports that idea that we all need to build diverse networks — people with opinions, perspectives, knowledge other than ours. The concept of the ‘echo chamber’ is one that Herminia Ibarra, The Cora Chaired Professor of Leadership and Learning Professor of Organizational Behavior, at INSEAD, makes in her HBR article, “How to Revive a Tired Network”. All four of her categories of tired networks, “Birds of a feather: Your contacts are too homogeneous, all like you. Network lag: Your network is about your past, not your future. Echo chamber: Your contacts are all internal; they all know each other. Pigeonholing: Your contacts can’t see you doing something different.” are the kinds of connections that cause tunnel vision and snap judgements.