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Submitted on
May 22, 2013


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The promise of the Internet was that unlimited information and experiences would draw us together. But instead it seems to have driven us apart.

For years I've observed this behavior but haven't been able to vocalize it correctly. Originally I called the behavior of collective opinions as "the hive mentality" of the Internet. But that wasn't exactly right and I often got called out on it. The most prominent example was when I made a comic about a guy disagreeing with opinions and being shouted at till he remained quiet, eventually fading into the background with everyone else. The consensus of that comic was that if you disagree with someone you aren't bullied into not speaking, but instead are free to go someplace else where people who do agree with you exist. And you know what? That wasn't what i was trying to convey, but is sadly true. The Internet is not a hive mind. It's many tiny pocket echo chambers of mutual agreements.

And this is becoming a growing problem, I think, because no one wants to ever compromise or try to come to an agreement on anything anymore. Want to bitch about a movie? Find a group of people who hate it and join in. Conversely did you enjoy something but see everyone hating it? Find others who enjoyed it and bask in their mutual appraisals for things you like.

I feel like this is where a lot of the internet's smugness and snarky attitude comes from. Because the only time "drama" appears is when these widely different groups butt heads with each other, usually to the point of completely ignoring the other side simply for being ON the other side.

I can't help but feel that when people cozy up to other like-minded individuals and use that as their justification of their actions, that we are taking a sever step backwards. I think it's very important for us to learn how to deal with and come to terms with issues without constantly flying off the handle.

Disagreeing doesn't mean there has to be a fight. You can disagree while also being respectful and inoffensive. And just because someone might disagree with you doesn't make them automatically wrong or their attempts to explain why they disagree as a personal attack upon you.

I've been ruminating about this for a while, but it wasn't until the reviews for Star Trek: Into Darkness and Iron Man 3 came out that I've been able to make sense of it. Both films have been widely polarizing and it seems like no one is trying to come to see from the other side. Rather its become opposing sides fighting back with one another, with no room for serious discussions.

I don't like this echo chamber the Internet has. I don't like that If you disagree with someone you can just hide behind others who agree with you. It's cowardly. It prevents us from having to deal with other people's opinions while heightening our own. It's a tremendous ego boost, but a terrible social hindrance.

And just so we are clear, I'm entirely guilty of this as well. We all are. And to be honest... I don't know how we fix it. It's reached a point where I don't know if its possible TO fix.

The world is not black and white. I really wish we could stop trying to compartmentalize everything into yay or nay categories. And the worse part is that I think a lot of it is done subconsciously.

What do you think? Have you experienced the irrational one sidedness I've spoken about? Agree disagree? If so, why and how? Lets discuss this openly as I feel it's a very important issue we need to address.
  • Listening to: The Halfman's Song
  • Reading: Game of Thrones
  • Watching: Futurama
  • Playing: Minecraft: Nerdcrafteria
  • Eating: Yes
  • Drinking: No
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DarkKnightGafgar Featured By Owner Oct 26, 2013
I hate indeed seen this exact type of echo chamber mentality throughout the net in the past few years... and it is indeed no longer possible to fix it, I fear. The internet has polarized people to such an extent that coming generations will likely be completely incapable of cooperating with those outside of their mental cliques. Given the increasing number of people outright calling for the deaths of those who disagree with them - on anything and everything, no matter how minor - on the internet today I find myself very, very worried for the future political leaderships of the first world.
Paladin343 Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I've called it "fanboy/girl mindset" before-- the idea that if you don't like what I like, you are an enemy. It exists in real life (and that's where I've seen it, mostly directed against me), but I think internet culture does magnify it.
MiningForDegus Featured By Owner May 30, 2013
I was writing a long comment, but I realized it was going to come off sounding wrong and unlike me so I'll just say: ignore those people. That is all.
Lauwenmark Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
I disagree with several points, quite heavily, and for a number of reasons.

First, Internet is in no way different that real-life when it comes to people of similar opinions grouping together, finding a form of safety in gathering with others who share their convictions. Many populist and activist movements are based on a similar pattern, with people reinforcing each other in their own conviction that "they are right" and "everybody else isn't". What Internet changed is the speed and reach of such movements; it is now easier than ever to create groups of common ideas; but it didn't fundamentally change the game. At most, it made it easier to notice, because finding groups and watching their debates doesn't anymore require a great deal of effort.

Second, as you said yourself, "the world is not black and white". Such left-congratulating groups are not the backbone of Internet, and there is much more than "tiny echo chambers of mutual agreements". It is also a place where public debates can and do occur all the time, on every possible topic. Yes, it often means that the debate can get very hot, and strong words get exchanged. So what? What matters is that ideas are exchanged, debated, and exposed for everybody to read. Anyone is free to read, get informed, and form its own opinion. That's a key point of Internet nowadays, I think: a messy, yet huge crossroad of opinions and thoughts.

And third, you say that everybody is guilty of hiding behind others opinions to strengthen their own position. I cannot agree with that. Many people - myself included - don't need to delegate to authorities or communities of any sort the defense of my own opinions. I - and many - try to rely on their own reasoning, feelings, and hard cold facts, to reach an opinion. Besides, just because your own thoughts are in agreement with someone else doesn't necessarily mean that you are hiding behind them; it may just mean that, well, both reached the same conclusions.

Yet, it does not mean that the "irrational one-sidedness" you describe does not exist, quite the contrary. This is something that always existed.

Now, the interesting question is: "how to fix it?"

That's quite easy: if you don't want to fall into that behavior, accept debate with an open mind; never consider any disagreeing opinion with disdain or as a personal insult, but rather try to understand why it appeared in the first place. Leave your comfort zone, and go discuss with communities you are not used to deal with. Listen to what people are saying with respect and real interest. Don't justify your work "because expert X said it needed to be like that". Accept that you can be wrong, and be ready to admit making mistakes in public.

There is no dilemma. It is all about being able to accept divergent opinion and criticism, and embrace them as part of your own self-development. I know that what I'll write now will probably hurt you, but I'll write it anyway, since you wanted openness: I strongly believe that most of the negative perception you have from the outside world comes from that you have not yet accepted those principles, and that you are refusing to apply them to yourself.

And thus, to answer your journal question: yes, I've seen such "irrational one-sidedness" in action - from you. I regret it, since I believe it has a strong negative impact both on you and on your work. I just hope this debate you are trying to open will not only open others minds, but also - and mainly - your own one.
TomPreston Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
I don't know how anything you wrote here is suppose to "hurt" me, you've brought up a lot of interesting and introspective ideas and opinions. Which is why I make journals like this in the first place: to help spurn discussion both for my, and everyone else's, benefits. You've given me a lot to think about and while I don't always agree on every point, it's all worthwhile to think about and to take in. So thank you.
Lauwenmark Featured By Owner May 31, 2013
I'm glad that we understood each other, then. And I agree with you: I hope this, in the end, can not only help you or me, but also anybody reading this. Thanks for your polite answer - I really appreciate.
el-dub Featured By Owner May 29, 2013
basically, i agree with your analysis, although i use a different set of terminology to describe it. everything (and practically everyone) now seems to exist in a niche market, but that's been developing for the past 20 years or so, long before web 2.0 came along. so perhaps for the phenomenon you've described the internet is as much a symptom as it is a cause. but having said that i think your use of the phrase "echo chamber" is, sadly, very accurate. unfortunately, this wonderful device we've created for ourselves rarely expands our point of view, or even offers much of a challenge; all too it often merely reinforces a sense of isolation, even of solipsism. not to mention fanaticism and a loss of empathy.
ManiacalCupcakeXD Featured By Owner May 29, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
It reminds me of the never ending war between religious people and atheists on the internet...

Religious people insulting atheists because "they reject God" and threatening with Hell and despair.

Atheists telling religious people they're stupid idiots because "they believe in a fairytale".

(I'm refering to some types of people I've seen on the internet and not every religious person or atheist in the world)

I think they're both respectless towards each other and should be ashamed of themselves. Just because you disagree doesn't mean you have to hate each other?
I don't believe in God and one of my very good friends is religious and she's a wonderful person. why does different believes have to be such a big deal?
nevaeh-lee Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student Digital Artist
Sorry my phone some how got me on your journal when I was on someone else's x.x ahaha..... Feel free to delet my messages sense they have nothing to do with anything x.x sorry bout that...
nevaeh-lee Featured By Owner May 28, 2013  Student Digital Artist
All your stuff is amazing dear!! Don't ever say its not! ;u;
You have such a talent, and your still so young!
You will go through many styles, but at some point it will stop, and start to become just part of you<3 and you will love it, though it may take some time, never give up! Cause you have an amazing talent, so never give up and never say your art isn't good, when its is so beautiful and unique!!
I have loved your art sense the first day I met you!!!! Your style was so impressive and I'm still jealous of it XD

So keep your head up and keep drawing! Cause your to darn amazing at it to stop!
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