Tempus Fugit

Time Flies…

   Sep 20

To Tow or Not To Tow

Since my recent foray into the world of RSS feeds….there has been a steadily increasing number of feeds that I have subscribed to.

Now whilst I am imbibing considerable amounts of interesting information … I have noted that there is an alarming degree of circularity in the feeds that I am reading. That is… as soon as one person puts it on their feed… it is almost immediately added by a remarkable number of other feeds – each obviously reading the same feeds that I am. So in effect there is an exponential multiplication of the original article across the world.

So in effect we all get the same information. But we get is several times over. And increasingly our experiences are becoming more and more homogenous. So what I am reading here at my desktop…is the same as a million other beings at a million other desktops.

So it stands to reason that if we are all receiving the same information….there’s a good chance that a large percentage of these millions of beings are going to start thinking the same thing…being influenced by the same information to draw the same conclusions.

Bang goes creativity. Bang goes original thought.

But let’s look at this from a different angle. How is this different from reading a newspaper? How is this different from watching TV shows syndicated world-wide? How is this different from radio?

Could we not argue that each of these mass media outlets could achieve the same homogeniety?


RSS feeds, one could argue, are different. They come to you. You don’t have to walk down to the newsagent. You don’t need to turn on the TV, you don’t need to turn on the radio.

They are not geographically limited (as, to a large extent, other mass media mediums are). And unlike these other media options, they are not subject to censure and their content is largely determined by individual contributors. Opinions spread in milliseconds. Our opinions become that of others. Other’s opinions become that of ours.

Suddenly we’re faced with the chicken and the egg. And iteration by iteration… we approach one common thought.

What we seem to have is a large virtual fungus – an organism made up of millions of building blocks of individually functioning ‘netizens’ who together form a ‘super-being’ made up of a collective consciousness.

Kind of has undertones of ‘Dark City’.

It’s not just the opinions that become shared… we share emotions – love, pain, sadness, anger, frustration… you name …. if it’s written in a blog entry that’s syndicated…. it’s shared.

And it’s almost comforting to know that when you’re feeling a particular emotion….if you’ve blogged it….someone else is too. There is a feeling of family and community when you share someone elses emotions.

We’ve become vicarious leeches. Feeding our hungry souls with nourishing emotion provided by people we’ve never even met – but have come to know. Bit by bit with each post we share the lives of these strangers.

And so the question posed is… do I tow the line and become part of this organism? By placing on this here blog, the bits of cyber flotsam and jetsam that I find in the ‘RSS net’ that I have cast out into the ocean of bits that is the Internet, do I succumb to the RSS virus? Or do I make a stand. Should I keep my individuality and provide only original content? Could be a bit boring. Could mean I think of something exciting and new.

The jury remains deadlocked.

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One Comment

  1. Just A Thought... says:

    My instincts say provide only original content. You don’t need to have bits and pieces of anyone else in your blog as it is funny enough and interesting enough just being you. However, flipside, if what you read in an RSS feed impacts on you then maybe it is worthy of inclusion. Hm, no answer here, only additional thoughts.

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