Joi Ito comments on Echo-chambers. Basically he reflects my own thoughts on this. The antidote against echo-chambers is not to regard any group-forming and community-building as suspicious, as seems to be implied by others. That would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater.
It’s trying to aim for the largest possible community-awareness in a given situation (lurkers as bridge-builders again). It’s ok being in a small group with loads of strong ties, as long as you are aware of other and larger contexts and do not exclude those contexts from your group’s sense of reality. This however presupposes a pro-active stance, with regular excersizes in looking outward. Not an easy thing to do, balancing the feeling of security at the core of the group, with the quest for the unknown on the turmoiled fringes of a group. Making regular excursions outside your own comfortzone is hard, but also one of those human paradoxes we deal with to be able to grow. It’s ‘optimal unfamiliarity‘ as I dubbed it earlier in another guise.

5 reactions on “Echo-chambers

  1. Some groups have “external relations” people – diplomats and whatnot. However, specializing this function might not be a good thing. It’s probably better for everyone in the group to do his/her part and contribute to the group awareness of what goes on outside.

  2. Hi Seb,
    Yes, specialists would be bridges to other parts of a network. Whether this is a positive or negative might depend on what situation you’re coming from and/or moving towards.
    If using specialists is meant to build bridges where there were none before it might be ok. Diplomats would be an example, paving the way for broader cultural and trade contacts.
    If using specialists is meant to be the one and only bridge between your group and others, it becomes more of a deliberate bottle neck. This enhances the likelihood of the echo chamber, as members are actively discouraged to link to the outside world directly. An example would be a spokesperson for a company with an active ban in place to prevent other employees to talk to the press.
    In short why was the bridge build / the specialist employed: to build new bridges, or to reduce all bridges but the one under his control.

  3. Echokamer

    Tijdens zijn presentatie op Reboot ging David Weinberger in op het verwijt dat de schrijvende pers, in dit geval de New York Times, weblogs regelmatig maakt: weblogs wijzen alleen naar zichzelf en elkaar, en zijn dus navelstaarders. Deze twee screensho…

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