Thursday, July 27, 2006

Danger of echo-chambers

From Community Mobilization:
My fear is that as we use nice site and networks that we will simply put on blinder to outside opinion and ideas. As we exist in a closed world with similar minded friends are we creating a large collection of echo-chambers and eradicating discussion and discourse? As our country and even the world polarizes more each day is it such a good idea to shut out thoughts and opinions that differ from your own? I think healthy discussion and confrontation will heal us all as long as we are willing and open to new ideas and opinions. Our current political crisis is a perfect example of what happens when you create an echo-chamber around your specific views of the world.
This is the same fear the Cass Sunstein wrote about in Republic dot com, basically using the linking logic of the internet to say that no one is likely going to link with someone they disagree with.

Maybe we should though, maybe we should work harder to reach out to people we disagree with than back slap folks we like. I don't know.

It brings up two thoughts for me. Locally, Olyblog has become a nice, non-partisan place for folks of different political beliefs to dialogue like adults. They even get something accomplished by learning. Good example of what I think Sunstein and Randal would like in an alternative.

A conservative blogger in Washington (Patrick at RR) recently voiced the need for a non-partisan, or maybe omnipartisan, group site like Washblog.

Then, of course, there is the open letter at wikia.

3 comments:

Randy said...

Hogwash - partisanship is what wins elections. Divisive debate and the reach for fringe views deliniates candidates. If all candidates were running on moderate centerist platforms we would have to judge them on the charachter of their heart, and propensity to represent the average man ... and in 2006 no politician wants to represent the average American. We have all been hoodwinked into an us vs them political scenario from which we will not recover for a long time because this is all self feeding.

Emmett said...

I'm not sure its "everyone running from the middle" sort of thing I'm looking for. Rather, everyone coming from where they're at (conservative, liberal, etc...) but actually listening to one another too.

I would consider myself a liberal, but that doesn't mean I can't listen to conservatives.

randy said...

The disturbing challenge is that politicians condition us into the ‘us vs. them’ mentality and in return we demand a combative nature in politics. The other party is the enemy, and their views are fundamentally wrong – unable to reconcile or compromise. The fringe politicos want polarization for the purpose of constituent retention. That and being a moderate is hard work – you have to compromise, and participate in a give and take. If you are a fringe element you stand on your platform and proclaim anyone that does not agree with you as wrong which generates less work for you, bolsters your status as a stand up politician who stick to his guns, and completely stalls forward progress. Fringe politics is lazy, polarizing, and ineffective only benefiting the politico who have pulled the wool over our eyes.