no swimswim witem ol meme pool

Two recent topics (list of high school cliques and defining the internet/watercooler news story) resulted in another phenomenon. Certain topics present the nearly irresistable urge to respond personally with an opinion or experience, even if that’s not the original intent of the discussion.

In these cases: The mention of teenager social cliques caused almost everyone to deliver their personal clique membership experience: claiming one, resisting them, etc. This accidentally proved my point about the power of that experience well into adulthood. The discussion of bloggable watercooler news stories got a lot of responses opining about the particular story that sparked my interest. In short, a watercooler was formed.

In both cases the general wasn’t nearly as attractive as the opportunity to share the personal and specific.

I think I hit the “talk about the weather” organ again. I wonder where that thing is? I’m sure as hell not “above” it; mention the weather and I’ll discuss it at length, and I’ll bet I’d do the same on the other topics if I hadn’t been the one with the less magnetic general questions.

So the next question is; what is the list of those topics? My first guess is that a lot of things about food, sex, and sleep would cause a similar response.

11 thoughts on “no swimswim witem ol meme pool

  1. The most popular post I ever made was about… hippies.  Boy, people have a lot to say about them.
    had a similar response when writing about goths.  Ties in with the interest shown in subcultures in your cliques post, I guess.

  2. Man, you’re like the malcolm gladwell of livejournal.
    Besides, we’re all very used to writing about ourselves on this website. Our avatars are linked directly to our personalities, and less so with topics that we know more of than about. And on livejournal, you don’t have to wait for someone else to tell their little story (besides the original poster), you can just start your own little response. And it’ll float there; it doesn’t go away if no one cares about it, nor do you have to endure any embarrassment brought on by silence surrounding it. Talking about oneself is very easy, just like talking about the weather. No one gets hurt.
    A small change to the format could encourage lengthy dialog: force one thread under each post. As of now, the multiple threads allow for people to easily bypass whatever’s been written above, and basically start over fresh (which, of course, encourages people to add their own context, i.e. their personal message or whatever). Case in point: I’m pretty much responding to cataptromancer’s reply, except I’m not, because I didn’t have to (and I’m not because I didn’t read it before starting this reply … also, if I did, then he would have felt somewhat obliged to respond to me calling you the malcolm gladwell of livejournal. so I’m avoiding that.).
    In the past I’ve attempted to keep up with discussion communities. One thing I noticed with them is that the original poster would often have to supply nearly identical responses to all the different replies, because so many of the replies were separate, and so many of them were similar to one another. The discussions never went very far; the post falls off the friends page and people don’t check back at the responses that have been written after theirs, but are not attached to their section of the post.

    1. You’re right about no one reading comments or following them. It’s a one-to-many dialogue which is great for keeping up with friends and terrible for discussing anything.

  3. Well I for one will enjoy Snakes on the Plane for what it is, nothing more.
    I would call this steering of the generalization back to the anecdote datapointing, but Gladwell’s buzzjargoneers could probably think up something snappier from a branding standpoint. Those Roots albums don’t name themselves.

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