The Internet Echo Chamber


Danger noise hazard
Danger noise hazard

With so much information available, it’s amazing how insulated the average internet user is. They tend to find their echo chamber and stay there. With almost the entire knowledge of humanity available, the average person decides to hide in a blacked-out bubble of their own prejudices, reinforced by others who want the same. I understand the desire to be around people we can related to. I also understand the need to research a topic and come to a rational conclusion. Sadly, it is man’s desire not to be rational, but to rationalize their foregone conclusions.

One thing I’ve noticed about these online echo chambers is when a dissenting opinion does show up, the first reaction is “Get out of here you {insert explicative}.” If they are really proud of their position, shouldn’t their first response be, “Well hello dissenter. Allow me to dazzle you with the logic behind my position so that you, too, may enjoy the fruits of my well-reasoned point of view?” Is it that nonconforming opinions frighten them? Are they afraid the intruder might poke valid holes in their world view?

It doesn’t matter how many facts are behind an opposing view. Most people prefer the comfort of their own feelings to the discomfort facts may bring to bear. Though I’m able to understand this, I just can’t tolerate it. My brain is ruled by logic, reason, and the occasional joke. I try to keep my feelings for my family and dogs. I don’t mind making a fool of myself for a cheap laugh, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to do it to make someone feel better about a conspiracy theory or some Fox News story (story: a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel).

Next time someone asks a question in your little internet group, try, just for once, to engage them instead of dismiss them. I know it will be difficult, but there are rewards for leaving your comfortable bubble.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

 

Here’s Hank from VlogBrothers to expand this thought.

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3 Comments

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  1. You explained this kind of behavior very well. The term I’ve heard used for it is “confirmation bias”. It seems to happen more when politics or religion are under discussion, though other philosophic areas get some too. Apparently it occurs less when debating subjects like history, where fact checking is easier to do.

  2. “A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest” – Simon and Garfunkel, “The Boxer”.

    Excellent, my friend. It is always more rewarding to broaden ones horizons and engage with those holding adversarial points of view, but it takes a special kind of person to do so, for such a person us usually not rewarded or welcome in these echo chambers, like you said.

    Therefore, it is safer to be a sheep in a willfully ignorant flock than to be a lone wolf. Truly exceptional minds always search for Truth to enhance their worldview. Average minds look for others with similar views to legitimize their “truth” (and AC, at times, was notorious for groupings of such average minds).

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