An echo chamber is a closed system where the variables inside are amplified by their own reverberation because they are insulated from rebuttal outside that system.
The major social platforms are doing their users an injustice by acting against the highest value that they could hope to offer — the free exchange of ideas, by placing their users inside of an algorithmically driven echo chamber the second that they join the platform. These categorizations help determine which ideas to expose you to in your feed. Every action you take further cements and narrows who you are in the eyes of the respective platform and which ideas to send your way to generate engagement from you in the form of a ‘Like’ or some similar metric.
I think a lot about the negative effects of an echo chamber when it comes to social mediums because of recent work I’ve been doing with the Articulate Ventures Network. Here, we’ve created a culture and medium to promote the free exchange of ideas and a place where even disagreements become constructive. Individuals communicate with the intention to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s perspective. We refer to this in our own pattern language as a ‘Town Hall’ effect.
When a group of people come out to a town hall, they are prompted to exchange ideas around a given set of issues regarding the future of their community. Thoughts are turned over in the palms of each other’s brains and while dialog can get heated, individuals know that these are people that they must see and be civil with again in the future, so there is a positive incentive to not burn bridges in this setting that is not equally prevalent through most massive online mediums.
We’ve willingly walked into the major social media outlets’ echo chambers as the algorithms that run them feed in new ideas and agents for the artificial goal of engagement rather than true interaction and exchange. The segmentation of these forums makes it so that alternative perspectives are unwelcomed and unable to anneal the ideas of it’s members thus the echoing begins to amplify the strongest idea node that brings the group together, too often to a negative pole from the rational center.
It’s easy to advertise to known niches which is the main incentive in this case, the more narrow, the better, but advertising at it’s root is purchasing the attention of it’s audience. When you’re able to purchase someone’s attention, which Rob Long calls one’s ‘bandwidth for changing the universe’, there’s an opportunity to place before people false truths that can determine their future actions. All the more disastrous is when a negative agent takes the opportunity to throw a venomous concept into this chamber and watch it bounce around until the conversation reaches a climax, converting to an action that has negative consequences to the members outside it’s group.
A few weeks ago in a separate post, I noted that I look often at the world and feel anxiety when I see others spending their attention & acting in response to false truths that the cabal has placed before them as a false incentive mechanism. I want to do what I can to bring people together to independently amongst each other, discover what they deem to be true with all the information available to them so they can best act in accordance with how they are capable of making the biggest positive impact on the world.
It’s for this reason, I’m so passionate about the work we’re doing within the network I mentioned above, but ours is far from the only one. We are a patchwork of thinkers that want to articulate ideas in a forum where they can be respectfully challenged, improved and celebrated so that we can explore complex subjects, learn from those we disagree with and achieve our personal & professional goals. Check us out if you’re interested HERE.
I encourage anyone reading to seek a similar forum to have your ideas challenged and to expose yourself to new perspectives. Here are the most powerful communities I’m a part of that are worth checking out:
Visualize Value — Helping ambitious people master their mental health and build independent income. ($99/year)
The Portal — We are a project-driven community spread over many interest areas and a variety of backgrounds. (Free by invite only to the main server)
Farnam Street — A community that shortens the path to wisdom by connecting you to other eager self educators. ($149/year)
Lex Fridman’s Server — Conversations about science, technology, history, philosophy and the nature of intelligence, consciousness, love, and power. (Free)
Originally published at https://www.thebenjam.in on October 19, 2020.