BookBlogging: The Sound of Crickets

Six Degrees, Duncan J. Watts@ p. 37

It’s early going here, but I’m already feeling good about this book: seriously science-y (but not too much), self-deprecating (or at least self-aware).  Take notes, man who wrote Buy-ology.

Anyway, to get to the crickets.  Watts is talking about synchrony, and the mechanisms which lead to systems (in this particular case the aforementioned chirpers) becoming synchronized.  Here, he writes about how inputs from all the crickets in the system affect the way the rate of chirp-ery in the system oscillates.

This got me thinking about Twitter, and why it might be useful in a way I hadn’t considered before.  In a cultural system, like ours, that’s increasingly fractured (see: splintered media, death of meta-narrative, collapse of mass channels, panic!, etc.) could we be losing out on the inputs that guide our our synchrony with our fellow mortal coil shufflers?  That is to say, are we less able to hear the chirps?

And in such a system, can something like Twitter begin to function as a sort of cultural rudder – a way of checking what the rest of the crickets are up to as a way of normalizing our own behaviour?

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