December 12, 2003

word of instant messaging

Recently, I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon among the contacts on my buddy list. Any time some funny flash animation or strange but true fact comes to my attention, it doesn’t come from just one person.

It comes from almost every single person on my buddy list. Even people whose only connection would be that they share a coveted position on my buddy list.

I’ve also noticed that the amount of time between hearing about these internet oddities from different people is decreasing, almost like a watermark for the increasing connectivity we experience with each passing day as even more and more people create an email address or an instant messaging account for the first time.

It all started with this flash animation. I heard about it from two separate people, Eugene from SMC, and Ryan from Cal Poly, within about 10 minutes of each other. Then I noticed it on Ralph’s (of Cal Poly) profile, and a fourth person’s profile, all on the same day. None of these people are directly connected in any way that I can figure out.

Since then, I’ve started noticing that any time I discover anything interesting on the internet, at _least_ 20% of the people I tell about it have already heard about it, though a lot of times it’s 50% or higher. Some examples include:

1) Go to Google and type in “miserable failure” and hit “I’m Feeling Lucky.” I didn’t post this with my earlier google trick because I’d already heard about it from several people I know. It was interesting that TWO MORE people told me about it since I had it posted last night, including Alex, who’s been in D.C. for the past quarter.

2) “The Star Wars kid,” a poor husky kid who didn’t know the video camera was on while he was doing his best impression of Darth Maul fighting with nobody. Why this one got passed around so much, I have no idea. Maybe a little too close to home for me to find it funny, but a lot of people think it’s hilarious.

3) Kollaboration 2001. This one, unlike the last one, I highly recommend. It has to be seen to believe. There’s a couple of very decent kids dancing at the beginning, whatever, but then this geeky looking kid comes on stage and his bones just disappear. It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen. I found out about this one from Eugene and when I told Lauren about it she’d already seen it.

There’s more examples, and this will be continued and edited later, but alas, work beckons.

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