Memes are great, messy, chaotic fun. They lead you to places, websites and even videos that you would NEVER discover in a million hours of web surfing. But they do take a little time. Well, they do when I participate in a meme … I start by reading through the list of participants and discovering something about their blog. If there is a post that catches my attention, I will leave a comment or two. Occasionally, I find a blog that fascinates me, and I will spend ages clicking through, burning my elbow to new levels of RSI, caught in the excitement of new discovery. Then, after a discovery phase, I will come back to my own blog, find a picture on Flickr and write a post that introduces the meme. I normally thank the tagger who prompted me to participate, and then hit publish. Over the next few days or even weeks, I notice some links trickling in. A few comments saying "thanks for linking" will filter through … and then quiet. Back to normal. Earlier today, I was commenting on this post by David Armano. He was talking about the way that Twitter seems to be exploding, and I was wondering whether this was the case — or whether Twitter was just facilitating a whole range of cross-connections among and across specialist communities that had not yet been realized by blogging. Then, almost in answer, Jeremiah Owyang single-handedly kick-started an avalanche of Twitter connections. In a matter of hours, Jeremiah had amassed over 300 comments and simultaneously shared his network of Twitter followers. Where the Z-list took weeks (and even months) to spread across the Internet, the J-list took only a matter of hours. In the time since then, I have followed and been followed by many new folks — some that I have heard of, some that are new, and some others that remain mysterious. But speed is not everything. In fact, just as it can hasten adoption of a new product, it can also rapidly cause its decline. Will a multiplicity of new ties strengthen the Twitter network or will it accelerate its decline? My first thought was yes, this could be a problem … but, now, remembering the strength that comes from WEAK ties, it could be the opposite. Hmmm. Would love your thoughts.
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