i’ve been meaning to do some recursive blogging – that is, blogging about blogs that blog about memes. kottke originally sparked my interest with his recent post regarding memes:

“It would be interesting to track the pace of meme transmission…and the speed at which transmission seems to be increasing. The difficulty in doing so is not knowing what to keep track of. When I see things, I can’t really tell the difference between meme-worthy & non-meme-worthy material…I’m more of an unwitting participant than trend spotter.”

evhead picks up the meme and runs:

“It would also be interesting to track the path of meme transmission. One primitive way this is done in the scope of weblogs is with the “via” or attribute link, where a blogger gives credit to the blog where he or she spotted what they’re posting about. Sometimes, you can track these links back several steps. Another related area where people are trying to more formally track such flows is with RSS headline feeds. I believe the original idea of RSS is that a site would simply offer an RSS-formatted index of what’s on their site, and others would use that to link back to them. But with all the crazy aggregation and syndication stuff being done by folks like Moreover, UserLand, ClickFeed, and Oreilly with Meerkat, one RSS feed can be the input for a system that then outputs it again, possibly categorized, commentated, or otherwise editorialized. Information you’re reading on one site could have conceivably gone through a long chain of such services. But since there’s nothing built into RSS to track this, this path is lost. The next version of RSS may account for such things. This isn’t exactly meme tracking, but it could be — especially where there is an editorial layer. And even more so if you think beyond just headlines (what RSS is mostly used for today) to weblogs syndicating other weblogs, picking and choosing the posts (memes, potentially?) that they like. Hmmm… “

this interests me because it essentially gets at what conflux is supposed to be about, or at least strives for. it most definately is not about being a newsfeed, but rather attempts to capture or crystallize a kernel of a ‘meme’ from elsewhere and add a layer or two. the near ubiquitous ‘redux’ posts are an attempt to further add a temporal aspect to the ‘meme-ish’ aspects of conflux. ideas come in, mate and mutate over time. hopefully there is at least one other person out there who takes the ‘meme’ and folds in other dimenstions.

i guess i should play both sides of the fence and state for the record that i’m not convinced that memes as they are usually defined aren’t just a new fancy, schmancy way of addressing an old idea – cultural replication:

“The idea of a meme, combined with the Darwinian model of selection, could in principle provide a powerful framework to explain culture, provided that culture was made up of memes. This, however, is far from being the case. A meme, as defined by Dawkins — there are many looser uses of the term that amount to little more than a new name for the old idea of a cultural trait — is a cultural replicator, just as a gene is a biological replicator. A replicator, I argue, is defined not just by the combination of a causal link and a relative identity of relevant properties between replicator and replica, but by the fact that the information that determines the properties of the replica is wholly derived from the replicator, or nearly so. The issue here is not the relative faithfulness of the copying process. It is whether the replica, perfect or imperfect, is in fact produced by a copying process. When a non-negligible part of the information realised in the replica originates from sources other than the replicator itself, so that its properties, even if identical with the alleged replicator, are not derived from it, then one is not dealing with a true replicator — in the cultural case, not with a true meme. Few cultural items are true memes, or even are “memish” enough for the meme model to apply.”

but that’s alright, sometimes it’s o.k. to dress-up old ideas in new words (as is now happening to memes themselves with the whole ideavirus meme) – and besides, it doesn’t change what i’m trying to do with conflux.

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