This post is a bit strange and kinda long, but it goes somewhere relatively important and interesting. It's not some random meandering.
Memetics is a passion of mine, which is, in fact, a little bit strange.
You see, you and me and that insane guy mumbling on the corner, we all have memes running around in our head. Patterns in our mind which are created through our interactions with the world. These patterns, in turn, affect our actions and, in many cases, cause us to take actions which synthesize the patterns in other people's heads.
Make no mistake, memes are more powerful than people give them credit for. They have defense mechanisms, reproduction, hibernation, optimization, and dozens more lifelike attributes which most people do not suspect.
But one thing memes are bad at is existing in a void. When a meme exists on its own, without 'proving' itself valuable (either socially, mentally, or physically), it decays and the mind seeks to replace it. For example, many young girls have a borderline obsession with a particular cute thing. Horses are common, as are cats. They 'outgrow' these obsessions. Why? Because their life moves away from such things and into other circles. Those memes no longer contain any potential benefits. Now it's time to worry about boys and armpit hair.
This is why my obsession with memetics is totally incomprehensible at first glance. It offers me no advantages, and I certainly do not see it every day (or, in fact, EVER), so it is not even a social pressure (like, say, politics). In theory, it should dwindle away and be replaced with a more healthy obsession, like AJAX. Most of my interests go that path - they swell, then diminish as further mastery (or even interest) proves to hold no advantages.
But memetics somehow got deeply rooted into my mind. Some broken circuit is sitting there flashing a 'ooh, neat!' signal every time memetics comes up.
And thus this post: The Power of Blogs.
You see, most of my interests have gone the way of the Pope - dictatorial at first, then getting old and dying, only to be replaced with a new one. The reason, as I mentioned, is that there is no social, physical, or mental value to them in my life.
Blogs fix that.
Blogs, ESPECIALLY feeds, wire you straight into a social group. A group which, if not ACTUALLY benefitting from their interests, at leasts FEELS like they are. And every day (or hour, or minute) you get NEW DATA. Feed the meme.
Now, I've had an idea for a long time: Artificial Gatekeeper Memes. People who want something, such as space travel or losing weight, tend to get interested, then watch the meme disintigrate without any environmental support. My greedy little interest was to make some kind of program, or action, or something which would SIMULATE an environment. If you spent, say, 20 minutes a day doing this activity, the meme would be reinforced and live on, influencing your viewpoint and your actions.
I thought of dozens of ways. But they all came back to the problem that it was nearly impossible to maintain interest. If you had a game, how long could you play it before the game got boring? If you had a slideshow, or music, how long before you got sick of seeing the same things over and over again?
THE ANSWER IS BLOGS.
This is important! In case you haven't figured it out yet, a good blog offers a stable supply of A PARTICULAR MEME, polluted with other memes that the author likes. This is a freaking GOLD MINE of memetic stability. You want to maintain your interest in commercial space flight? Sign up for a dozen space flight blogs. Each day, you'll get a few insightful comments that peak your interest, and you'll feel that there's both a social and mental advantage to the meme. You'll keep it. It will grow.
Sound like nonsense? TRY it. Think of something you're a little interested in. Like, say, space flight. Find some blogs on the subject. Good blogs, not shitty 'once a month' or 'I don't know what I'm talking about' blogs. Add them to your RSS feed. You need to get at least one comment a day.
This should work for ANYTHING. The only limit is the perceived quality of the blogs. If the blogs you sign up for don't peak your interest - if they're boring or stupid - you may take the exact opposite approach and lose the meme quicker due to uselessness. So only sign up for blogs that write well enough to keep your interest.
IE, don't sign up for this one. :D
But this is a NEW, FREE way to use an existing resource to CHANGE yourself. You want to be interested in international politics? Sign up, read at least one interesting thing a day, and you WILL be. You'll be smarter, too.
From now on, I'll start posting links to blogs I am reading. Practice what I preach.
Today I signed up for freakonomics.com and becker-posner-blog.com. Both economic blogs, the latter by TWO of the... THE most influential economists of this age.
I also signed up for mindhacks.com. Very cool.
Maybe I should submit this to it. :)