Much was made, during the dotcom boom, of the Attention Economy. The notion was that attention is more important than profits and the web still looks that way.
Today, Doc has dug deep into Michael Hall’s questioning of Doc’s and other bloggers’ Google-based attention-getting, in I’ve never felt so deconstructed in all my life. Specifically, Hall is distracted by what he sees as Doc’s obsession with his rank on Google. He wonders what it all means and why so many of us are blogging and why should we bother? After all, so little of it matters to anyone else. Here’s me quoting Doc quoting Michael Hall:
Hall’s hard questions seem to come from the viewpoint that seeking attention is vain, unbecoming, somehow beneath our dignity. I’d turn that around (which is how I seek attention). Suppose, for the moment, that our productive lives are only about getting attention, and the dignified self we think we are is just marketing.
Whew. Sorry about that, but I don’t have time to make it shorter.
Memes, Memes, Me! Me!
I can’t tell the difference between ROM code and RAM code. If something feels like the right thing to do, I do it, and rarely know exactly why.
I have no direct proof that any of those ideas will have the desired effect, but I’ll do them anyway.
Docking His Memes
So Doc’s RAM may be as interested in spreading his memes as his ROM is interested in spawning his genes. We parents don’t care whether our gene carriers are pretty or smart or how many toes they have. We just want to give them the best shot we can. You know, the way flatworms and geneticists and Muslims do.
There is no intrinsic meaning to any of these memes, but how we respond to them is important. When I post something that Michael Hall thinks is trivial, it may have meaning for someone else. If not, and my posts get scant attention, I’ll change them so they get more. Bees and ants learn this and so will the authors of the “bite-sized ‘my little dog entries’ “ that bother Michael. Michael and Doc:
When Doc gazes in his Google mirror on the wall, he’s seeing his progeny and he’s as proud of them as he is of his son, reeling off the names of constellations. From the culture’s standpoint, they’re the same, experiments that may take root and may not, or might only for a while but be useful for a time.
Michael Hall’s questions are necessary and helpful. His are powerful memes hoping to overcome the weaker but more pervasive memes of vapid ramblings on irrelevant happenings. If his ridicule withers a few of those wastes of our time, then our collective intelligence will have been raised. But if Pop Culture continues its decline into meaninglessness (from Michael Hall’s standpoint), then we will be the most homogenized, lowest common denominator culture in history. His fears are shared by Richard Dawkins, the Eastern Elite and the GOP’s conservative intelligentsia, all of whom know the prole
From its dark nadir of inconsequential text ricocheting among the navel-gazettes of the Land of Blog, our lock-stepping networked culture of uniform mediocrity will have the potential (but not destiny) to energize simultaneously, like the similarly insignificant, lock-stepping photons of a laser, to reach levels of relevance, focus and intensity inconceivable in the old days of a few clever, entitled, published wise men attempting to illuminate the vast proletariat of the unpublished and the unread.
Is Google’s mirror on the wall a physicist’s half-mirror? Like quantum mechanics, evolution’s a crap shoot.