PROTIP: Press 'i' to view the image gallery, 'v' to view the video gallery, or 'r' to view a random entry.
This submission is currently being researched & evaluated!
You can help confirm this entry by contributing facts, media, and other evidence of notability and mutation.
“Circle Jerk” is a slang term referring to the positive feedback loop that can occur when ideas and beliefs are reinforced within a group or subculture’s enclosed space. The phenomenon is typically observed on websites that consists of self-contained forums for specific interests or subcultures.
The term “circle jerk” was initially used to describe a sexual practice involving a group of men who masturbate themselves or each other while sitting in a circle. On January 22nd, 1999, Online Slang Dictionary user Audrey M. submitted an entry for “circle jerk,” which provided an alternative definition of the term as “a pointless group endeavor.” On February 12th, 2001, the book Studs, Tools, and the Family Jewels: Metaphors Men Live By by Peter Francis Murphy was released, defining “circlejerk” as “a boring or time-wasting meeting or other event.” On May 17th, 2003, Urban Dictionary user “anti-racist” submitted an entry for the term “circlejerk,” which defined the term as both a group sex act and an echo chamber-style discussion.
“To kneel in a circle with others and pleasure oneself. Also refers to a pompous, self-congratulatory discussion where little to no progress is made.”
Echo Chamber Effect
The echo chamber effect refers to a phenomenon that occurs when people are isolated in social circles that confirm personal biases, beliefs and ideologies. Online, the phenomenon became amplified after transitioning from BBS sites to social networking communities in the late 2000s, where users and algorithms could curate what feeds they followed based on their own interests and biases. The effect has often been criticized for allowing false information to spread without being challenged and creating barrier in communication between those who share differing opinions.
On July 16th, 2005, The Constructive Curmudgeon blog posted a review of the film What the Bleep Do We Know?, to which commenter Phil Aldrige referred to the film as a “new age circlejerk.” On October 10th, Straight Dope Forums member Zebra posted a thread asking other members to define the term “circle jerk,” to which member THespos responded that it was often used in his office to describe time-wasting meetings. On January 3rd, 2006, an entry titled “The LiveJournal Circle Jerk” was created on the Internet culture wiki Encyclopedia Dramatica, described as “an elitist group of inept trolls who go about ”http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/sites/livejournal">LiveJournal, fellating one another’s egos at every turn." On July 18th, 2007, YouTuber chris3ff uploaded a video referring to YouTube celebrity collaboration videos as a “circle jerk” (shown below).
On December 10th, 2008, the /r/circlejerk subreddit was created, in which Redditors posted cliche catchphrases, memes and beliefs that are considered to be pervasive among the Reddit community, such as praising the American politician Ron Paul and use of the terms “so brave”, “up votes to the left” and “literally Hitler.” Since then, several other circlejerk subreddits have been created, including /r/fitnesscirclejerk, /r/engineeringcirclejerk and /r/liberalcirclejerk. On August 6th, 2012, Redditor tikatwit submitted the question “What is /r/circlejerk” to the /r/ExplainItLikeImFive subreddit, to which Redditor -Sam-R responded that it was a subreddit for satirizing common posts and beliefs found on social news aggregating site. On January 1st, 2013, Redditor Khiva submitted an “Anatomy of a circlejerk” to the /r/circlebroke subreddit, which pointed out several notable quirks about the Reddit “hivemind.” As of January 2013, SubRedditFinder has over 65 subreddits tagged with the label “circlejerk” and a Facebook page titled “Reddit Circlejerk” has received over 3,100 likes.