Life as an Extreme Sport

Tracking the Speed of An Idea

This is an interesting idea, tracking ideas flowing around the net. It’s for an MLA presentation, so be a good person and go help the poor researchers gather data.

The fearless blogger trying this says,

People write in general (typically truimphant) terms about how swiftly a single voice can travel from one side of the internet to the other and back again, but how often does that actually happen? Of those instances, how often is it organic?

Most memes, I’d wager, are only superficially organic: beginning small, they acquire minor prominence among low-traffic blogs before being picked up by a high-traffic one, from which many more low-traffic blogs snatch them. Contra blog-triumphal models of memetic bootstrapping, I believe most memes are””to borrow a term from Daniel Dennett’s rebuttal of punctuated equilibrium”””skyhooked” into prominence by high-traffic blogs.

For my talk at the MLA, I’d prefer being able to quantify this triumphalism with hard numbers. Had I paid attention when “DISADVENTURE” and “My Morning” made the rounds, I could’ve completed this little experiment without revealing its existence. Since I lack foresight, I’m stuck announcing my intentions and begging participation. Here’s what I need you to do:

What s/he needs you to to do is go here and read the rest, and post similar to your own website. 😉