Replace skepticism with Disney in the above paragraph and this would be a pretty accurate portrait of the online subcultural of skepticism. I wish to make clear that in my opinion the goal of skeptics to promote rationalism and science for a reality based worldview is a higher calling than being transfixed on a corporate entertainment empire. Yet, I wonder how often someone who questions the likelihood of psi, big foot, alien visitation, or homeopathy explores a few skeptical podcasts or blogs after an iTunes or Google search and thinks "sure I find In Search of . . . type topics interesting, and Mythbusters if great television, but this entire internet subcultural is a bit peculiar and eccentric."
Yes, I know there are other internet subcultures. I also listen to a fair number of technology podcasts and they are incestuous and highly focused on a selective area of interest. I would argue the tech area of interest is a bit more import than Disney information for daily useful knowledge. Again, it is an area of interests of mine, so objectively is not possible. However, the parallels between what I have glimpsed between Disney folks and skeptical folks is a bit too close for comfort.
Does the skeptical community come off as a weird inside baseball echo chamber instead of presenting a welcoming impression to someone with a casual interests in skeptical topics? I am not really sure if someone (such as myself) or most readers of this blog are in such a position to judge. While I do not think every podcast, blog, twitter account, or Facebook account should set itself up as an conduit to draw in the general public, I do wonder if we look a bit weird to the outside world. I have my doubts has to how skepticism appears in toto the majority of people.
Now, I think the best way to guard against such public facade is to . . . I really do not know. To some extent this type of self contained community is inevitable, but on the other hand while there are clearly those interested in outreach, I cannot help but think the modern skeptical community is more echo chamber than open tent. (Yes. Here is a blog focused on commenting upon the skeptical community lamenting an echo chamber. Color me a hypocrite.)