Notebooks Research

Loops and Echoes

Scribbles in my Research notebook, Monday 12th April 2021: observations and writing I have found interesting in the last week.

The Loop and the Echo Chamber

Emily VanDerWerff’s recent newsletter discussing the loop started me thinking about links with this and the concept of the echo chamber:

“You enter the loop by taking a strong stand that attaches a considerable emotional component to something that should, theoretically, have some detachment. Once you’re inside of it, you end up getting trapped running in a circle that grows tighter with every cycle. Your original idea must be right, because it’s core to who you are, so criticism of your idea is criticism of you, so you have to defend your idea even more vociferously.”

Perhaps both phenomena could be said meet at the intersection of defining personal identity. With the loop, you are (intentionally or otherwise) stating who you are by something you are putting out there, something you are sharing. With the echo chamber, you are stating who you are by curating the words and views that you allow to surround you. Initially, one might be seen as a ‘positive’ action (the loop) and the other as a ‘negative’ reaction (the echo chamber) in that one is active (asserting an identity), the other is reactive (demonstrating an identity by curation of the voices to which you pay attention). Both can be much more inadvertent and nuanced than that. Both are potentially self-defeating, and both are common symptoms of social media (though not solely). Pick a side. Tribalism.

I realise this is an oversimplification and I don’t think I have captured this entirely correctly, but these notes will act as a starter-for-ten if I choose to revisit this line of thinking at a later point. Consider these initial scribbles only: I think this deserves more thought.

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