What are you on about echo chamber… you mean that thing where ducks don’t quack…No not there and a ducks quack does echo by the way it’s science…
No I’m talking about the closed idealology echo chamber that “the Facebook group” can be. Now I am not knocking the Facebook group. I have learned 90% of what I know about shooting from these groups. It’s a wealth of knowledge whether it be the vermin control groups, the wood pigeon groups, UK country sports etc. You know the places. You probably found this article there, god knows the ramblings of this writer is not good enough to get up the Google rankings.
Anyway the point!
What I’m writing about here is how when we create our little club and we all pat each other on the back and we all agree. Sometimes we all agree on the wrong things. Now thankfully the shooting community is largely awesome. I mean to have a SGC/FAC you need to be a reasonably reputable person. The thing I’m talking about is questioning why, as opposed to simply repeating things parrot fashion.
What you rambling on about I hear you say. Now the thing that sparked this little thought was a discussion on a Facebook group surrounding gun laws in the U.S.
Side note. If you think gun laws in the USA in their current guise are sensible then just jog on now… I try to stay away from the realm of opinion and stick to facts. In this instance assume the way they do things is just wrong, because well, it’s lunacy… And I own loads of guns, I love guns, guns are cool.
Now the discussion was around gun control in the US. Firstly, you would have thought everyone was a US citizen. The outrage at the suggestion that an amendment can be amended was ridiculous, especially when the place is 1000’s of miles away. Now for those that are not aware, said amendment has already been amended. But most don’t know this. The original wording was “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed” now by that wording people were breaking the law for a long time… So it was changed, basically by order of the NRA. (Edit: strictly speaking the amendment was not amended but 3 supreme court verdicts changed the accepted interpretation of the section.)
Another side note, do not confuse the NRA (US), with that of its quite un-similar counter part the NRA in the UK. The NRA in the UK is a much older organisation , its a progressive sensible organisation and it’s existance benefits us as shooters, unlike the US organisation which appears to be manned by nut jobs, (sorry fallen into the realms of opinion there, I’ll go back to facts now.)
Now back to the point. We’re in our generic Facebook shooting group (I won’t name which one) and we have a discussion that’s gone one way, everyone patting each other on their backs. Full of throw away comments and statistics made up on the spot.
Now I wasn’t the one to disagree but I watched the tirade of abuse against the first person to offer an opinion that differed to the narrative, simply suggesting some checks… It was ridiculous, the level of abuse from the same community I previously stated was awesome.
The problem in this scenario was the throwaway nature of many of the comments. But this can be dangerous, people have a misplaced sense of anonymity online and forget they’re liable for their words. So someone will walk away from that experience believing the rhetoric and the figures made up on the spot. The problem with people is once they’ve said something they don’t want to admit their wrong. Further to that, and this is the big issue, someone will believe said misleading fact or figure. And it’s with them, because “it’s easier to fool someone than convince them they were fooled.” (Possibly said by Mark Twain) now what happens next is that same person will continue that rhetoric elsewhere.
The most annoying thing about these scenarios is the idiot always shouts loudest (we have all come across the militant vegan who refuses to take any reasoned argument.) But we as a community can be guilty of this also. It’s called the Dunning-Kruger effect. This basically means the stupid are cock sure and the intelligent are doubtful.
(image credit Johnathon Randell)
Side note – this is also why your boss is an idiot, but he’s a confident idiot. (To Succeed in life, you need two things: Ignorance and Confidence. – Mark Twain)
Everyone reading this will have seen this elsewhere, usually in the anti hunting camp. But maybe you haven’t recognised it within our community.
I think what needs to be said, and… this is with myself in the past doing exactly what I’ve pointed out, that people need to think before they post. Now that’s somewhat a throwaway comment also. So what do I mean by this. Question everything, provide sources for your arguments (that is not a newspaper… or Wikipedia) and assume everything you say is wrong so back it up, don’t give ammo to those who wish to decimate shooting. And above all always be polite, when someone is wrong, be nice and convince them with fair reason, especially anti’s you will only get their backs up and create a more determined enemy.
Oh and another thing, beware of the Facebook algorithm. Facebook tailors what you see and makes the Echo Chamber even smaller. This means if you like and share something you will have adds, posts, etc. tailored to you, so if you like a political post, you will soon see nothing but that area of politics.
Facebook, where as it is useful, it is also dangerous. (I’m not a conspiracy theorist by the way…) and if you want an alternate source of social media which doesn’t target you, try twitter. Or just watch a few TED videos they are 87% guaranteed to make you smarter, or did I just make that figure up…
Thanks for reading my ramblings and I hope this makes sense, if you would like to read more on staying safe online specifically aimed at the shooting community check out my social media security blog post