This title alone is likely to earn me some sarcastic comments either directly on the post or via Facebook. I welcome them.
The Internet is an amazing thing. We have the ability to learn anything about anything in the world. We have the ability to talk to people of all different backgrounds and cultural perspectives....which is why I think it's funny how quickly and easily we can build out our own echo chambers instead.
I've been reading Disrupted over the weekend and read contrarian views on the tech startup industry. The book is about a former Newsweek editor who loses his job and transitions into a content role with Hubspot. He talks about the differences between his newsroom job, an old school way of doing business, and how life is 180 degrees different working in the startup world.
He tells the story in a hilarious way but offers a contrarian viewpoint to what we normally read online about startup culture. While I may not see totally eye-to-eye on everything, reading this book has made me think differently on why someone should choose a company to work at. More specifically, taking a more analytical approach at perks. The things that get applauded in the tech space as innovative or earth shattering may not be quite what they're billed for.
I also read The Ad Contrarian from time to time. He really spends most of his time totally bashing the type of marketing that I've essentially built my career (thus far) on - digital marketing. I don't agree with the author on everything by any stretch of the imagination. However, hearing a contrarian point of view at least makes me view my own work with a more critical eye. It forces me to think about why I do what I do.
The Hide/Block Buttons Build Echo Chambers
It's remarkably easy to build echo chambers online during the election season. People post things on one political end of the spectrum that we may violently disagree with. So we hide their content, unfollow or block that person.
While that does reduce stress (I do it too sometimes), it may not be the greatest solution. I've personally challenged myself to try and follow people on both sides of the spectrum to at least hear things out. As a result, I've had instances where I've wanted to throw my computer at something someone has written, but I at least know the other side's POV.
Hearing someone out that has a contrarian POV makes you re-examine your own opinions and beliefs. It'll either help reinforce your pre-existing beliefs...or maybe even question them.
Either way, listening to contrarians is a great way to build empathy. We all have different upbringings and life experiences that shape who we are. Even when you strongly disagree with someone, hearing someone out is a great way to at least flex that empathy muscle and hopefully help us be more well-rounded people over time.
What do you think? Is there a time to tune out the contrarian's point of view?