115 of 1000 – The Echo Chamber

Me, “Beware of the “echo chamber.” Tip 13

The echo chamber is a concept that Michael has recently introduced me to. Admittedly, I like the echo chamber. It’s comfortable, validating and difficult to leave.

Wikipedia defines the echo chamber as a, “…a situation in which information, ideas, or beliefs are amplified or reinforced by transmission and repetition inside an “enclosed” system, where different or competing views are censored, disallowed, or otherwise underrepresented.” In short, you only share information and time with sources that hold your beliefs. Although I like the echo chamber and am cozy there, it’s a dangerous place to stay.

Throughout my parenting journey, I did have some protection from the echo chamber. I was building a new support system, getting an education and engaging in counseling. I had access to a lot of new people and new information. At times, most times, it was very uncomfortable — as I’ve found, often most healthy things are.

The echo chamber is a risky phenomenon. If the only information you have comes from those around you, the information is bound to be limiting. Given we typically surround ourselves with those who hold similar values and beliefs, they will likely agree with our choices. Our friends and family can reassure us we are doing the right thing when, in fact, we are making a damaging decision.

Think of breast feeding for example. If your Mother and Grandmother are against it, it would make sense you would be as well, or at least leery. You may fear it. It’s important to broaden your scope with other input and even contrary beliefs, especially contrary beliefs.

We should research. Information should come from many sources and every effort should be made to locate credible sources.

Even in the case where one person dislikes another person. Nothing brings people together like hating the same person. Nobody wants to hear positive qualities about someone they decided is an ugly individual, but you may be wrong, all wrong.

I remember in my childhood, my echo chamber told me I was an idiot.  I was almost failing at school, and was failing at life. I became what I heard about myself.

Once I left the “chamber” I come to find out, I’m not an idiot at all. In fact, not only am I not an idiot, I was on the Dean’s list all through university. I had the ability to make strong and solid decisions. When I believed I was capable I became capable.

Inspirational speakers such as Les Brown, and my therapist were key in introducing me to the possibility that maybe people in my life were wrong — turns out they were.

I still fall victim to the echo chamber at times. Of course I seek to spend time with likeminded people and those who share my values; however, I also attempt to seek information and keep an open mind especially when it comes to parenting.

After Michael’s enlightening explanation of the echo chamber, I work to be more considerate of differing opinions. I visit the echo chamber, but I no longer live there. 

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