There have been some important questions raised lately. Mostly, are we blogging into an echo chamber?
What IS the echo-chamber effect, anyway? It “refers to any situation in which information, ideas or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission inside an ‘enclosed’ space.” See here for more.
One example of the echo-chamber effect would be the group of people who get all of their information from conservative outlets like Fox News, The Drudge Report and The Wall Street Journal. Not that I know anyone like that. (Ahem. I totally do.) Those outlets repeat each other’s news over and over until you definitely believe that President Obama was born in Africa.
The same of course could be said about the group who only reads The Huffington Post, The New York Times and watches MSNBC.
In the days of our Founding Fathers, the media was split like this, too, with pro-Jefferson and pro-Hamilton papers. The idea of objectivity (no bias) in media was an idea mostly fostered in the 20th Century (and there are many who would tell you that the idea of media objectivity is laughable in any case), and it appears that an objective form of media is completely “outre” today.
But there’s also a blogging construct to the echo-chamber effect: if a group of like-minded people all gather together virtually and write about the same topic and comment on each other’s blogs, perhaps this blogging community is in a “bubble” where we think and hear the same things over and over and over until these ideas and emotions seep into our thinking patterns, perhaps effecting us negatively. Here’s an interesting article on the subject. The author posits:
When opinions become entrenched and polarizing, we circle the wagons in our little camps and tell the same old stories that we always have. Scary thought, eh?
In the ALI community, I would argue that perhaps the dangerous area is getting too entrenched in the tragedies that occur unfortunately often. This post, by Trinity, is one I think of often. Trinity was a social worker for many years. She said:
“Know yourself, understand and honor your limitations. There is no gold star for emotional martyrdom here (or anywhere). Create some boundaries for yourself. For a long while I couldn’t read portions of LFCA. When I was pregnant I simply couldn’t read BLM (Baby Loss Mama) blogs. It didn’t mean that I didn’t care about these women, or that I was being insensitive to their experiences, or that I wasn’t honoring their babies. What it meant, most plainly, was that I was taking care of myself.
If you are here, if you sit around this ALI table, you’ve already been through some shit. Honor that. And honoring that sometimes means erecting a boundary and safeguarding the delicate places in your heart. This okay. This is necessary. Know this.”
I think these guidelines are pretty crucial.
However, I do NOT think that the ALI community is a place where every single post I make is met with just a bunch of “I feel you” and “You have every right to feel this way” comments.
Want proof? Here are some of my favorite comments, ever, calling me on crap I’ve said. None of these comments sound like an echo to me:
I may have said this before, but it fascinates me how much time you spend worrying about how you compare to the rich and famous. I guess just because I don’t worry about that at all.
So I respect this discussion and your perspective, but I think it may be helpful to realize that you can’t always judge someone on what they did not write, because you have no idea what else they might be thinking about.
From Kate at This House is Now a Home
So, to go off on a kind of tangent here, what IS it with us ALI bloggers and categorizing? I think you’re making a lot of good points, but the more the discussion fleshes out, the more it starts to feel like the “levels” of infertility and loss that people try so hard not to publicly establish (even though we all know we’re thinking them).You know what I mean. The infertility vs loss categories. The infertile vs more infertile-est categories. The loss vs more lossiest categories.
These comments are very respectful, I need to point out. The ALI community is an intellectually rigorous place and sometimes, as we all know, there can be serious, intense debate that leads to emotional fallout. I’ll leave it at that. It’s not a place where I feel I can post any old thing up and hear, “You go, girl!” At. All.
Of course, when I need support, I always know I’ll find it here.
What do you think? Do we challenge each other enough? Or do we need to challenge each other at all?