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Want to feel less anxious about the state of the world? Try diversifying your online news sources

NeimanLab – “Participants who reported actively trying to diversify their online news streams by interacting with people and content espousing different points of view also reported lower levels of anxiety related to current events. “A new study suggests that consumers who actively take steps to diversify their news consumption — following accounts and news outlets that post a wide range of viewpoints, and interacting online with people who have different views from their own — feel less anxious about current events than people who don’t take such actions. Hunkering down in a self-created news echo chamber, however, does not seem to reduce anxiety. Democrats also report feeling more anxious about current events than Republicans, which isn’t surprising considering who’s in the White House.

The paper is “Factors motivating customization and echo chamber creation within digital news environments,” by Brooke Auxier and Jessica Vitak of the University of Maryland. Using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, they surveyed 317 U.S. adults about their news consumption habits, categorizing whether they were “echo chamber builders” or “diversity seekers.” The echo chamber folks “find content providers (both people and news sources or other websites) they agree with and follow them; when they come across a person or source they disagree with, that content or user is removed.” The “diversity seekers,” meanwhile, “purposefully seek out a variety of perspectives in their content feeds. These users’ responses suggest they view social media as a way to expand their world view and engage with unlike others.”…”

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