Inside the Social Media Echo Chamber


Our ideas are flawless. We have become convinced. We are above reproach, beyond any feeble attempt to argue. Our profile is the collection of a life lived 2 parts digitally, only 1 part physically. Friendships are built on assumed qualities of others, not necessarily the qualities made known by constant interaction. Intimacy is no longer necessary to know and be known, at least on the surface.

Our greatest desire in social media (an inner desire perhaps) is to have constructed a grandiose echo chamber, in which our own ideas bounce and reverberate through other people. We share and like and re-post and comment to stake our personality in the sameness of others. Bold, black and white comments on society, religion, politics, taxes, healthcare, lifestyle, demographics… all just pieces of paper that we stick to our digital bodies like fashionable clothing. None of it truly us, nor anyone else, but all of it a mass of meaning if it were to be taken seriously.

But some don’t take it seriously. What is most displeasing is the dissent of a lone negating comment. We grimace at the contrarian and roll our eyes in befuddled anguish as our echo is cut off by a stray wall of contrary delight. Suddenly the papers on our digital self are wrinkling, crumbling in the breeze.

But instead of reassessing our social media stance, we gather more paper to stitch together a persona. We all wear masks, hide the true and distinguishing qualities, in favor of appearances. And so the false intimacy gained by social media is an assumption of the laziest order. We look at photos and think of what it must’ve been like to be there, but we rarely make any effort to ask the questions that would give us that knowledge. We continue with the assumptions, live off the fantasy of a hundred lives we’ve never lived, nor care to understand them if the opportunity was ever presented. We create paper dolls of other people, other profiles, personas and put them on stage to develop some vague narrative of lives outside of our own.

What questions do we ask now?

Do we continue living inside the bubble: the echo chamber?

Do we live an assuming life, drawing conclusions from vague messages, photos and events or do we draw from questions asked between friends?

Sorry for the rant, I was just thinking about this in the morning and thought I’d share my brain with the internet. Oops.

(echo chamber graphic can be found here.)