The Theoretical Wedding of Spiral of Silence and Echo Chambers

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Abstract

The study explores how the spiral of silence and echo chambers could theoretically be wedded through the Ethiopian social media environment. It adopts the spiral of silence theory, takes the concept of echo chambers as its ontological assumption, and employs netnography as its research method, thereby using NVivo to analyze data. The research demonstrates the theoretical wedding of the spiral of silence and echo chambers through users’ social network interaction on Twitter. It is observed that users from ethnic minorities are more inclined to speak out against ethnic federalism, while users who deem themselves the majority remain silent, thereby discovering homophily and confirmation bias. The finding also uncovers the conformity between the two variables (perceived opinion climate and users’ willingness to speak out), which appears to get users caught in an echo chamber.