Nice, Cozy Echo Chambers

After the SCOTUS overturn of DOMA and Prop 8 today, and the epic filibuster over SB-5 in Texas last night, social media was ablaze. It was all I could do to keep up with my Twitter and Facebook feeds (especially since I still don't have internet at home!).

And something came up a couple of times--echo chambers. The idea that if your feeds were a reflection of your own views and responses, then you are living in an environment without challenge to those views, without having to engage with the "other." It's usually painted as a bad thing, implying that if you only listen to people who agree with you, you'll never grow, nor will you make a difference among those who believe otherwise.

However, I don't know that it's such a bad thing.

There have been times in my life when I was definitely not living in an echo chamber. Or maybe I was, but it was more like being held hostage in the other side's echo chamber. Either way, I've been in situations where I am literally forced to reckon with people who don't see eye to eye with me every single day.

And that's exhausting.

I absolutely believe in dialectic, in dialogue and the necessity of opposing forces and ideas. I love having my ideas challenged and trying new things on. But I don't love being forced to, and certainly not constantly.

Right now, I'm enjoying a season of life where I am being embraced by likeminded friends. It's refreshing to not have to defend myself at every word. It's nice to not be subject to the hatred being spewed all over the internet. It's my Facebook feed after all, why should it feel like punishment to read?

There's something to be said about hospitality, and venturing out to meet the other, but I don't think that being hospitable precludes a safe space where you can be yourself among your people.

For more on why echo chambers might not be all bad, check out this piece by David Weinberger.