After reading a recent post by Steven Hodson it made me think some more about the dreaded ‘echo chamber’ and its effects. In my opinion, the echo chamber is what you make it. Chances are you’ve isolated yourself on Twitter, or FriendFeed, or dare I say, even Facebook. This is understandably so, we have only so much time to
waste spend online and it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up as technologies advance and networks grow.
Does Your Social Network Isolate You?
Like Steven, I did wonder if FriendFeed isolates us, in a way. But then I realized that I chose to isolate myself — in 2 ways:
- I chose to eliminate noise in search of the much-desired signal.
- I chose to focus my interactions on a more personal avenue rather than just reading anything and everything (in other words, be more social!).
By doing this, I narrowed my scope of interactions, purposefully, for fear of information overload. I just wanted to be able to cut to the good stuff. After this refinement, should I expect to find that only one or two people who think they have stuff figured out?
Is There A Way Out?
There are many opinions on this; Colin Walker makes a couple good points:
Social media must not become a self congratulatory love-in unless there is actually something worth celebrating.
..it [social media] becomes boring when “the same topic goes round in circles and, just when you think it’s done with, someone else throws in a ‘me too’ post and rakes over it all again but with no insight or added value.”
I agree with Colin, but who is to judge what is worth celebrating and what isn’t; what is value and what isn’t? It is really up to the individual or is there something the community can do?
I believe there is. We can stop being so quick to belittle those who have an opinion. We should not be afraid to disagree, but how are we going about it? I think this negative type of chastising behaviour encourages a kind of ‘groupthink’ that only amplifies the effects of the echo chamber.
Believe me, I’m not saying we should treat everyone with kid gloves, but we’re all human beings with sensitivities, unique experiences and walks of life — we should appreciate that and use it to the community’s advantage.
I think we can encourage the expression of diverse opinions. If we choose not to, our complaints about the echo chamber are in vain.
Why is the echo chamber a problem for you? What can you/we do to correct it?