4 Things Entrepreneurs Need to Be Aware of When Consuming Media
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Social media has opened a floodgate of content -- a quick scroll down your Facebook feed exposes you to dozens of articles, blog posts and mass media stories. The majority of people don’t fact-check -- or even read through -- every article, so much of this information is accepted based on titles and a quick skim.
As an entrepreneur, this can result in reading misinformation or feeding it to your audience. Being a successful entrepreneur requires you to be extremely knowledgeable in your industry. Here are four things you need to be aware of when consuming mass media content.
1. We live in echo chambers.
We choose to consume information that supports what we already believe. We are constantly exposed to familiar information from a limited set of viewpoints. For example, a startup founder might read an article about hustling until success is attained. But, that viewpoint isn't shared by the majority -- many people prefer the stability of corporate jobs.
As an entrepreneur, you need to understand people -- especially your target customers. Whether you are working on the next tech unicorn, a scalable software-as-a-service (SaaS) product or a lifestyle business selling consumer products, be aware of how the media you consume might cause a misalignment between you and your customers.
2. Confirmation bias is real.
In line with the concept of echo chambers, every person has bias based on their experiences. Entrepreneurs in particular struggle with confirmation bias -- when you consume media, you tend to take away information that agrees with what you already believe is true.
Entrepreneurs thrive off making changes in the world, and many dedicate themselves to creating that change. But, this can result in putting up blinders to opposing viewpoints. Make sure to stay focused on facts and be open to opposing viewpoints that can help guide you down the correct path.
3. There are multiple sides to every story.
Every time a new iPhone comes out, there are countless articles about its functionality and features. These are often done by journalists with very strong “pro-Apple” or “pro-Android” opinions. One side might say that the functionality is much better than previous versions, whereas the other might say that the price point is outrageous and developer functionality is limited. These articles are essentially opinion pieces on whether you should buy the newest iPhone model or not.
Take time to understand the nuanced arguments of all sides of a story before taking action. Do not rely solely on the information you get from your newsfeed when making important decisions.
4. There is a spectrum of fake news.
Many people do not understand that fake news is more of a spectrum than a clear dichotomy. A news article might highlight limited information or spin a story so the piece no longer accurately represents reality. Furthermore, the personal bias of the journalist impacts the quality of the piece.
Once you begin reading information through the lens of someone else’s bias, you limit your ability to act on soundly based information.