f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n: Two Birds...One Post

f a i t h * i n * f i c t i o n

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Two Birds...One Post

This post on Salon by Andrew Leonard(you'll need a free day's pass to read) interests me because it's something I was wondering about the election and something I worry about with this site...and our growing community.

Early this year, as part of the Howard Dean campaign's postmortem, David Weinberger wrote a piece in Salon criticizing the argument that the Internet facilitates echo chambers. Echo chambers, so the argument goes, are places where like-minded people talk to one another, nobody ever changes anyone else's mind and true diversity of opinion is exchanged for an infinitude plenitude of ideologically identical communities. The Internet, say critics, is really, really good at providing logical support for such places.

Weinberger's central point is that there are good reasons to have gathering places for like-minded individuals, one of which is that people who agree on founding principles can then move on to discuss more subtle nuances that are themselves diverse -- a bunch of Kerry supporters thrashing out get-out-the-vote strategies, for example.

That's all well and good, but the problem with the argument, I think, is that it underplays how easy it is to let an Internet site of like-mindedness form a nice, soft cocoon of intellectual safety around one's head.

I think we're in danger of being in the same boat here at F*i*F. It sounds like a lot of people all talking about doing something new and special in Christian fiction...and yet we're not being heard by all the folks out there who A) don't care or B) don't think they want something new. These are the people who are going to cast their vote against a "revolution" by not buying the books that come down the line.

How do avoid becoming an echo chamber? How do we more effectively bridge that gap between the voices here, which are passionate and valid, and those who aren't listening? Because, in the end, I don't know how much we can accomplish without them.