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The Slide from Epistemic Bubble to Echo Chamber

We are trees rooted alongside each other, and tearing up the roots of one tree threatens to encroach on the rootedness of another.

Robert Rackley
Robert Rackley
6 min read
The Slide from Epistemic Bubble to Echo Chamber
Image source: Mac Reed on Flickr

In 2019, I participated in what is called a Leadership 360 assessment. The survey I took is based on principles from Zenger Folkman. The purpose of this survey is to help you identify your strengths and become even stronger in those areas. The assessment seeks to answer the question of what differentiates you as a leader. The premise is that you can’t make a leader great by taking an area where they are weak and making them a bit stronger in that area so that they become potentially average. However, if you can take something they are already good at and make them great at it, you can augment the skills of someone who can actually influence others.

When I took the survey, my strongest areas were honesty and integrity. We decided to hone in on those areas for my leadership development activities. Given the identification of strength in those areas and a commitment toward further development of honesty and integrity, I am sensitive to distrust. There are all sorts of ways people can express distrust these days. I wrote a post describing a few of the ways I have felt distrusted in the past. Distrust can involve individual or group dynamics. It can be the result of previous negative experiences that have conditioned someone to be doubtful of either other’s intentions or their presentation of truth, as I outlined in the piece. However, there can also be ex ante distrust built up by the media we consume that tells us to look askance at anyone with views outside our adopted tribe. These can come from being in an epistemic bubble or an echo chamber.


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