Echo Chamber

I don’t want to live in an echo chamber

Participants in online communities may find their own opinions constantly echoed back to them, which reinforces their individual belief systems. This can create significant barriers to critical discourse within an online medium. Wikipedia

I don’t want to live in an echo chamber

…the echo chamber effect reinforces one’s own present world view, making it seem more correct and more universally accepted than it really is. Ibid

I don’t want to live in an echo chamber

Another emerging term for this echoing and homogenizing effect on the Internet within social communities is cultural tribalism. Ibid

I don’t want to be part of a homogeneous tribe

flock of sheep

I don’t identify as part of a swarm

swarm of ants

I don’t need anybody to speak on my behalf


I don’t want to live in an echo chamber.

Right-wing media has a noted effect on shaping its viewers perceptions.The conservative media echo chamber has been partly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump, by consistently providing a platform for his ideas and defending him when attacked. In addition, conservative media has created the environment where presidential candidates feel comfortable enough to claim that the media has a liberal bias and therefore shouldn’t be trusted. This leads candidates to mold their candidacies towards what those who listen to conservative media want to hear and parrot popular conservative media hosts ideas and rhetoric. Media Matters

I don’t want to live in an echo chamber

if algorithms are going to curate the world for us … then we need to make sure that they also show us things that are uncomfortable or challenging or important Eli Pariser

Give me pretty bubbles, not filter bubbles.

Soap bubbles

Sheep pic by James Good shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Ant pic by Troy Tolley shared under a Creative Commons (BY-ND) license

Parrot pic by Nathan Rupert shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

Bubbles pic by Kim Scott-0  shared under a Creative Commons (BY-NC-ND) license

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8 Responses to Echo Chamber

  1. Torn Halves says:


    That old Yeats complaint about the falcons not being able to hear the falconner springs to mind. Of course people nowadays are not falcons but independent, self-motivated learners with the digital tools to keep right up to date with whatever they need to know about. So, according to the theory of the revolutionary digital horizontal, there is no need for them to hear a falconner.

    But they do have to be able to hear each other, and speak to each other and develop some common understanding of the runaway train that we are on so that they can begin looking for the brake.

    But they can’t, because people online are fragmented into so many groups (echo chambers), which function partly to keep chaos at bay. When infinite distraction proves not to be enough, people grasp at shards of a lost meaning or an idea of a possible meaning. And groups are found that have already gathered around these. There is no way of putting the contradictory pieces together, even with the best digital tools in the world and a lifetime sabbatical, so people stick with something that seems to make at least a bit of sense, and enjoy the support and escape and confirmation the group provides.

    Marx thought it would be a fairly simple matter for the workers of the world to unite once they grasped their shared status in the global economic system. The creation of a new unity now that the economy is so much more confusing (everyone is both capitalist and proletarian), and when society is fragmented into billions of echo chambers is very difficult to envisage, prior to the next wave of offline crises (end of oil, end of clean water, etc.).

    The supposedly revolutionary horizontal actually seems to be functioning as a very smart form of divide and rule.

    Hope that doesn’t come across as too trolly.

  2. dogtrax says:

    yeah … I’m, eh, thinking something going on outside my field of vision with your posts along these lines … we all need pretty colorful musical bubbles not narrowing echo chambers …

  3. susan watson says:

    What I value are those who offer me subtle (and not so subtle) intellectual challenges to my thinking, thereby not creating an echo chamber. I don’t need teeth-gnashing opposition as much as I need the person near me to question me in a way which shows they truly listen and read what I say and think. This is why I love you guys – you do that.

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Likewise 🙂 I know you will cheer me up when I’m feeling down and challenge me when I get complacent 🙂

  4. tellio says:

    I don’t mind living in an echo chamber as long as I am aware it is an echo chamber. It’s all confirmation bias and echo chambers which makes the iconoclast worth his or her weight in gold to all of us. Just be aware that most people have a blindspot about gadflies. They worship Pollyanna or what Barbara Ehrenreich called ‘brightside-ism’. We can use the echo chambers to expose these blindspots just like flint can use steel to make sparks.

    • NomadWarMachine says:

      Well, yes. I think, though, that it is too easy to forget that it is an echo chamber – or, even if one remembers, not to venture out of it. At the moment all that I am seeing in my UK circles is positive stuff about Jezza, and I don’t want to go over to the “other” side and see other spins.

      And criticising the SNP in Scotland is taken to be an endorsement of conservatism by some, which it is not (necessarily).

  5. Hi Sarah, I’m doing a series of posts on curation and when I searched “curate” on your blog to see anything to teach me, I found this post. The media and social platforms “curate” and sometimes that is misinformation just for the echo chamber. I thought that relevant enough for my own post. Thanks for the all the resources and inspiration here; I had not thought of the echo chamber as part of a curation of sorts, but it is. ~ Sheri

    Your Curation: A Side Note

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