Stream of Consciousness writing is an interesting thing. Sometimes, it’s interesting to see how someone thinks, or how they make connections, and other times, it’s horrific to see where people go when they deign to think. More often than not, it’s an excuse some writers use for explaining why they have textual diarrhea (including bloggers, which is part of the appeal, oddly enough), rather than presenting a tighter narrative or analytical structure. (I’m certainly not immune to this, but then, blogging isn’t writing a term paper, either.) It’s especially interesting to see the journey from point A to point B, since the two may not initially seem connected, but following the links in the chain show how even disparate things can be connected with enough meandering.
This, of course, is the appeal of the “Six Degrees of Separation” theory and the casual sport of namedropping. For some reason, people want to feel connected and important, and if they can prove even an incidental link to someone else who is more important, it seems like a little thunder can be stolen, or at least echoed. Of course, in a nepotistic society where who you know is more important than what you know, this isn’t a great surprise. It’s still potentially dangerous, shallow and stupid, but not surprising.
It’s also why people follow the herd in something like American Idol or political campaigns; people like to feel that they “picked the winner”, which somehow makes them feel more important, since their choices were apparently validated by their peers, imagined or otherwise. (Of course, objectivity is thrown out the window, but facts are so inconvenient.) Call it the bandwagon effect, the halo effect (or the Halo effect), or social flocking, whatever, people tend to like to find those links that make them feel important. (What else is Facebook, after all? Ixobelle noted, rightly, that it’s sort of a game, complete with a very visible score and addictive mechanics.)
This is, of course, a rumination on the notion of internet hyperlinks, and the way that they make research considerably different from the days of card catalogs. Casually dropping a hyperlink into a blog post can give those so inclined the ability to dig deeper down the rabbit hole of any particular topic. Links lead to other links, and pretty soon, you can find that you’ve burned hours just following whims and interesting tangents. (The tvtropes.org website is a great launching pad for just this sort of tangential ADHD research.)
Blogrolls can expand exponentially as a result of this sort of “browsing”. A sort of “hive mind” can form, where ideas echo around within social circles, everyone adding to the great ball of wax that a simple idea spawns. Sometimes that winds up polishing the discussion into a pearl, sometimes it just degrades into Gordian Knot, but it’s usually interesting either way.
Still… I’ve got to admit, I miss the intellectual rigors of a University and term papers. I like it when things are painstakingly researched and analyzed as objectively as possible. I ramble rather extensively about gibberish here on the blog, but as my itch to create rather than pontificate has increased, so has my desire for data, rather than opinions. Extensive link browsing winds up creating a lot of mental cruft when I’m looking for hard data and incisive insight.
Short story long, I was all geared up to provide another handful of links for public consumption, but took a moment to think about it. Do I really want to contribute to the static? Not as much as I used to. There’s a lot of good stuff out there, definitely… but how valuable are these little collections I come up with? I’m a bit ambivalent about them.
So… back to the drawing board. Literally. I need to create, not just… graze. I love data, and I soak it up like a sponge. I’m just a bit oversaturated, and need to clear the system. One way I do that is by drawing.
I’m involved in illustrating a children’s storybook at present, so I’ll be busy with that for a while. It’s not the Steampunk BattleTech art that I’ve really been itching to create, but it will be a great diversion, and a way to stretch my art muscles. Who knows, I might even dig into art creation a bit in this, my narrative dumping ground.
Back in a bit.