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Saturday, 2 July 2011

The Bloggerfly Effect and a Hundred Monkeys

Say what?

It starts with a blog post.

It can be a short post, a long post, a funny post, a sad post… no matter. Then people start reading it. For some, it evokes emotion (positive or negative or both), for others not so much. Some find it interesting, others bland. But whatever the outcome, there’s always an effect. Often enough, the effect goes beyond simply reading the post.

It’s like a butterfly laying eggs in your ear. You don’t feel them at first but when the tiny larvae hatch (6-7 days later) and spread about your brain, something unsettling happens. You feel like tiny ants are gnawing at your corneas and toy soldiers are marching along your nerves and… wait, I have no idea how it feels because I’m not sure this scenario is even possible. *shrug*

But what if it is? *blink*

Anyway… you probably know about the Butterfly Effect. The butterfly’s wings flapping on one side of the Planet may cause a hurricane on the other. While it sounds far-fetched, a lot of ideas have revolved around this theory. Probably because it’s one answer to the eternal game of what-if. In fact, it’s the opposite of an answer really, because it tells you that anything can happen as a result of anything that happens, big or small. (Huh?)

Moving on. There is a similar, albeit subtler, effect happening in the blog-o-sphere every day, which I call ‘the Bloggerfly Effect’. You read a post, it ignites an idea; and then you credit the author (hopefully) and post your own idea, which leads to someone else’s brain-bulb lighting up, and so on. On and on, the Bloggerfly Effect moves at a sluggish pace, which sometimes upgrades to viral.

Twitter has a life of its own.

Most of you don’t know me that well but if you did, you’d know I had a theory about this. I think the Bloggerfly Effect works on THREE levels.

1. Conscious: where you see how the idea has developed from what you’ve read to what you’ve subsequently written. (ALWAYS remember to credit the author!)

2. Individual Unconscious: where you make a connection without realizing… and hear people say delightful things such as  ‘yeah, I read something like this the other day’. Remember, it’s not your fault. It’s just the darn eggs hatching in your brain.

3. Collective unconscious (coined by Carl Jung): where something just clicks WITHOUT reading anything beforehand. No, it’s not angels whispering in your ear… they have more important things to do. Ever heard of the 100th Monkey Phenomenon?**

It’s never too late to get smart.

**Basically, it illustrates how Koshima monkeys learned to wash their potatoes in the stream and how they managed to transfer those skills among one another. Since the adorable monkeys do not have our long-distance call plans, their brothers on neighboring islands didn't have a way of picking it up... at first. Then somewhere around the 100th monkey, this 'awareness' spread across the ocean to the other islands as well. Just like magic!

While I’m dying to further develop this, gather a small army of minions to do my bidding (steal the moon anyone?), and apply for a research scholarship, I’ll stop the madness here. Y’all have brains, you figure the rest. (And tell me if you do!)

OR perhaps this post will trigger a series of events that will lead to a Planet of the Apes-like scenario a hundred years from now. Or worse…

Zombie clowns! Eeesh. 

Hey, if a frigging butterfly can flap its tiny wings so hard it produces a hurricane, I bet an unassuming blog post can bring about an apocalypse.

I mean, what else is it good for?

So anyway, I’ll leave you guys to figure out the rest. And please, don’t bother spreading the word as it can surely spread itself. 

Besides, God knows what might happen if you do…

Oh my. It’s already happening


Dave said...

You're right, we generate a lot of ideas in this way. I'm fascinated by how many of our discussions occur offline. Conversation was originally an integral part of the Web 2.0 phenomenon, and now conversation seems to have made an exodus from social networking platforms. Yet, I find myself discussing ideas that I discovered in the blogosphere with others offline regularly.

Lyn Midnight said...

Thanks for stopping by, Dave! I'm glad my crazy ideas are met with at least one nodding head, lol.

Rachel Brooks said...

Very interesting blog post! I've noticed the butterfly effect with blogging too. It's great that writers and book lovers can spread their ideas so easily.

Side note: I love the blonde moment picture. Thanks for the laugh :)

Lyn Midnight said...

Hi Rachel. I take it you're not blonde? (Duh, I can see that in the pic, lol.) Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment. Hopefully, the bloggerfly effect will take you to fun places today. :)

Marjorie McAtee said...

Ideas have always been contagious, that's why we're still arguing over who really invented the lightbulb/steam engine/radio/whatever. That's how society evolves so much that, over centuries, you don't even recognize it anymore.

It's either an apocalypse, or a revolution. Maybe both.

Lyn Midnight said...

Well said, my friend. :-)