Are You Suffering From The Echo Chamber Effect?

Not quite the echo I was thinking of.

Am I the only person who thinks that every yodeler sounds the same. Don’t bother trying to correct me because I know they really don’t.

Before I wrote this I made a point to listen to five different yodelers on YouTube so based upon empirical evidence I feel qualified to say my neighbor’s cat makes the same sort of noise when it in heat.

I am tempted to make a smart ass remark about how much easier dating would have been if all I had to do was go outside and howl.  “Step right up ladies, it may sound like he is passing a kidney stone but in reality he is just letting you know he is available.”

Yodeling is Like An Echo Chamber

The point of the post isn’t to try to be funny or work my old stand up routine into this it is to share an observation with you: You all sound the same.

Ok, that is neither true nor fair.  Not all of you sound the same, some of you have developed your own voice and style. That is good and it is of paramount importance.

That is because the blogosphere is populated by 1,9383,843 posts about how to become a better blogger or some variation of that. There are another 829,393,039 posts about cats, children and headlines containing the word “epic.”

One of these days I have to defenstrate the person responsible for turning “epic” into a word that causes eye rolling and exasperation instead of awe.

Groupthink and the Echo Chamber

Groupthink is the sort of word that would have made some of my English teachers crazy. We would have received a lecture about why it is incorrect and inadmissible for our essays and that would have been the end of it.

Not here. This is a blog and our model is built upon creating a conversation so we try to write like we talk. However old habits die hard so I am going to compromise by providing a definition.

Definition of GROUPTHINK

: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics

It is a common phenomena within the blogosphere. If you hang out on the same blogs and never mix it up you begin to notice that the “members” view some things in a certain way.

The members have a tendency to write about the same topics and to cover them from the same angles and that can be problematic because it doesn’t lend itself to thought in the way we might wish it would.

Agree/Disagree

There is a lot of flawed advice floating around the blogosphere. There is no single way to do this, no one path to success. However there are people who maintain that if you are not different in every way you can’t succeed. They take the groupthink and echo chambertheoriesto mean it is impossible to be successful without finding a way to be different.

I am not a fan of being different solely for the sake of saying you aren’t like everyone else. Different only works when you provide value and if you aren’t providing value it doesn’t matter whether you are a Stepford wife or a bearded lady.

Read through the archives and you’ll find more than one post in which I outline how there are no material distinctions between some car manufacturers. The distinctions that exist are based upon perceived value and come from the consumers.

Blogs are the same. You and I can both write about how to write the perfect blog post and be confident that some people will love us, some will hate us and others will be ambivalent.

But even though we have different styles and different voices it doesn’t negate the need to not let groupthink drive our focus and approach. My solution is to not limit yourself to visiting the same group of blogs all the time.

Mix it up. Spend time wandering through different communities.

If you are interested in becoming a better writer it will help you because the two most important things you can to improve your skill are to read and write more.

What about you? What do you think?

photo by: Yodel Anecdotal
13 comments
Ralph
Ralph

Some people wander. Some don't. Same thing as different styles. Just 'cause you don't doesn't mean you are melding blindly into a tribe.

Mary Stephenson
Mary Stephenson

Hi Josh

Yeah, I think people hang out in the same places and all begin to sound a like. I visit but I also like to pull from what others can't ... my own mind. Nobody wants to keep reading the same old hashed out stuff. Finding your own voice takes time and researching outside of what you are accustomed to. Just like going to the same restaurant, you get the same menu and eat the same food. It might be comforting but it is not exciting, not rewarding, not different. A blog post ought to give someone a refreshing idea on an old subject, then you stand out.

Good point about the yodeling, it seems once you have heard one, they pretty all much sound the same. It is not a unique approach to music like a special singing voice might be.

Mary

Lori Gosselin
Lori Gosselin

Hi Josh,

First, thanks for making me look up "defenestrate".

I agree with you that we shouldn't just agree with the group. The beauty of coming together as a group is the variety of opinions, characters, talents and beliefs. I don't understand the difficulty in being different - we're all different if we're just being ourselves. I think the problem is feeling you need to conform, as you said, to what the group is doing and in this we're missing the boat. we don't create anything new when we all agree - we have to allow ourselves to disagree. That's not so easy, is it?

By the way, I disagree with you. No, just didn't feel right. Because I do. This time.

Lori

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

Dude? Where the heck are the share buttons? Can't tweet this!!

Jayme Soulati
Jayme Soulati

Actually, I want to know more about your private-public life so I can judge you a prude. Actually, I want ELMO to scream. Actually, I want to hear you yodel in your next video with that grizzle on your face. Actually, what does the word "defenstrate" mean? Are you coining?

Josh
Josh

Hi Ralph,

I thought I had replied to your comment but apparently I didn't.

The echo chamber doesn't impact or affect everyone. Some people can visit the same blogs repeatedly and always find new things or different angles to write about.

However it is not true for everyone which is part of why we end up with more noise because people cover the same topic with the same angle over and over again.

Josh
Josh

Hi Mary,

I like the restaurant analogy. If you always visit the same place and order the same meal you never get the chance to have new experiences or look at things differently.

Josh
Josh

Hi Lori,

I like diversity of opinion and ideas. We often fail to really challenge ourselves and that makes it harder to grow. So many of our ideas/thoughts and beliefs are just spoonfed or arbitrary ideas that we believe for no other reason than "because."

Josh
Josh

They are located under the word "Share."

Ralph
Ralph

That's what I love about you Jayme.

Josh
Josh

Well now, that was quite the comment.

Josh
Josh

Clearly you are wise and have excellent taste. ;)

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