// Patrick Louis

Online Convergence

This article is about nothing surprising but may act as a reminder to anyone that wanders online or that manages a community.

There’s too much already written about the subject of echo chambers so what I’ll do is list ideas that I find interesting but that aren’t mentioned enough.

  • It doesn’t mean that because it is an echo chamber that it doesn’t have any valuable knowledge.

  • Many communities are centered around a focal point. That’s how group forms in the first place, this doesn’t make it an information silo. Every community is thematic.

  • When the community is centered around an individual’s actions and work and those are regarded as “holy”, perfect, and unquestionable, it is a sign of echo chamber. Also when contradictory opinions are rejected instantly without arguments.

  • In the previous scenario, if the work of the community members is looked at as secondary to the “holy work” then the community is non-existent, it’s a single mind speaking.

  • Following the above, if a community converges into cultish behavior with specific patterns and jargon, all trying to resemble one another then it’s not a community but a copy machine. This behavior is usually amplified by the following: click-economy, fear of interaction, elitism, smothering of other voices, and vote-based systems.

  • When individuals within a community are only attracted by the fear of not being in the known, that there’s something that they are missing, and that the only way to not miss it is by joining a group and mix in then it’s an echo magnet chamber. Putting in as priority being part of the group above critical thinking, following a trend because of its association, the consequent attributes that an individual would like to have associated with him or herself.

  • The corollary of the above is that there will be a lack of energy, of creativeness, of new ideas, of progress, of arguments from different sides, and the community will stagnate into a cohesive blob.

  • Contradictions are fine, groups that are too cohesive are boring and won’t live long. It’s fiery discussions and fights that give rise to innovation and mature communities.

  • A person is not made of ideas. Don’t get attached to a group because it supposedly represents and idea that you would want to be part of you, and thus wrongly concluding that you should take the whole package of ideas offered by the group. Later trying to reconcile and justify them. Don’t associate yourself with ideas but juggle with them, incorporate.

  • Don’t let the click-bait economy decide what is important information and what is not.

  • The members of the community make up that community, not the ideas. Everyone should partake in it, incite conversation and actions, not smother it.

I hope those ideas could serve someone.

Cheers,
And remember to contribute to your favorite online communities and to beware of echo chambers.




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