I’ve been pretty quiet about all this lately, but I’m starting to see a growing number of friends, acquaintances and media outlets attempting to focus their anger and shift blame for recent political events towards the internet and social media. The words ‘echo chamber‘ have been used to describe why things have gone so shockingly wrong recently for the left (and I would argue the right, as well). From someone who has been using the public internet longer than most of you (exceptions apply: shout out to my Gopher peeps, props to the Arpanaughts), I will reiterate what people need to understand about this form of communication:
The recent upsets in the political world isn’t solely because most people “only get their news from one source“. Historically, small communities tended to only have a single newspaper that they received the ‘news of the day’ from. Multimedia proliferation is a uniquely late 20th century phenomenon. The recent upsets are not because there are now suddenly ‘news’ sources that fabricate stories, there have always been news sources that fabricate stories (remember Jayson Blair? I do).
No, Facebook is not to blame here. Misunderstanding the ramifications of what it means to publish information without a thought towards what its impact could be is. Amateur journalism from people who don’t realize they have become journalists. These feeds are not private, even if they feel that way, the content you publish on them is your responsibility. The” bubble” and the “echo chamber” view of the world is not the fault of the internet, it is the fault of anyone who has not done their due diligence and has lazily accepted that something they’ve read must be true because it feels true.
Don’t shoot the instant messenger.