You’ve all seen it. Or at least you’ve heard about it. Maybe you’re one of the folks who contribute to it. It’s the Echo Chamber. These days it’s mainly on television and the internet. If it’s happening on TV, it’s usually when the talking heads are screaming at each other or at imaginary opponents or ideas. If it’s on the internet, it can be in many places like forums dedicated to divisive ideas, but for a while now it has been casting its ugly shadow on Facebook.
Facebook used to be the place where you could connect with your friends and family. It’s meant to be friendly and conducive to discussion and catching up. But now, it seems to be a never-ending scroll of misspelled image macros and political dead-end rants (who ever changes their mind after reading those manifestos anyway?). I’ve decreased my time on Facebook an enormous amount because my timeline seems to be full of angry people trying to incite other people into anger.
I’ve even fallen for it a couple of times lately. I tried to throw in my point of view, and it was promptly steamrolled. It was the echo chamber. I waded into a pool of rabid piranha (yes I know that’s not possible), and I tried to convince them not to eat me. They parroted their talking points while ignoring the substance of the argument. It’s frustrating and no minds are changed. I think it even serves to entrench whatever position they were holding before.
I’m not saying that I’m not guilty of exactly the same thing. The echo chamber is comfortable. You are given instant feedback from like-minded people who understand your point of view. There’s no reason to go venturing into the land of different ideas and spending the time to think a bit differently. I have been exactly in that position, and it’s not something to be proud of. It’s intellectual laziness to dismiss someone else’s idea or point of view without honestly considering it.
That’s exactly why I am avoiding Facebook. It’s like the trenches of The Great War. Insults and F-Bombs fly, killing friendships while gaining ground for nobody. I want to spend my mental energy doing something productive instead of obsessing about someone being wrong on the internet.
So what have I done this weekend instead of worrying about other people?
I Gardened with the Woman
We grilled some super yummy dinners
We looked through my telescope to see the craters on the moon (and the rings of Saturn and the Moons of Jupiter)
And then I built a wind-powered walking machine
So what I’m saying is this: If you’re in a situation where you see something that you really disagree with on the internet, you have options. You can close the window and walk away. You can unfriend. Or you can spend your precious, fleeting time telling someone on the internet that they are wrong while they ignore you and pat themselves on the back. I suggest stepping away and doing something awesome before you become one of them. I’m glad I had the self-awareness to stop while I still had the chance.