‘Noun: strong supporter of a party, cause, or person…adjective: prejudiced in favour of a particular cause’. Oxford dictionary
Increased connection can bring us together with diverse others. However, they can also make it easy to find and form cliques with those who think like us. Networks can make it easier to be partisan.
The difference between the two outcomes comes down to our willingness to test our ideas and to learn. If we seek confirmation of our views from networks, we will find a niche of other like minded folk to act as echo chamber. The reinforcement we receive runs the danger of causing greater disconnect from reality as we become surer in our beliefs.
If we want the benefits of networks to make us more effective we must be prepared to learn and put our beliefs out for testing in action. Networks that simply confirm our knowledge and beliefs will rarely add value other than a smug sense of satisfaction. We will rightly question the value of participation.
We need to be open to new facts and new experiences in the network. If we respect the views of others and seek to understand, we may not change our opinions but we will be open to changing our prejudices and remaining connected to others and reality.