Going for a swim in the memepool

by Suw on May 10, 2003

I?m just taking a break from the typesetting to read some stuff online. Yes, I know it?s Saturday, but time waits for no man, or woman for that matter. I must get my new version of the Get Fluent web site finished this weekend so that it?s ready to go live next week when the French worksheet?s been proofed.

Anyway, for ages now I?ve been thinking that this blogging phenomenon is actually quite limited in scope, and that a lot of the main blogs are just all recirculating the same news. Not to criticise them, because I?ve been just as guilty I think, but today my regular online reading matter became very circular.

A couple of days ago Neil Gaiman mentioned that Salam Pax, the now well known blogger from Iraq whose descriptions of Baghdad really make you stop and think very hard indeed, had resumed blogging after having to break because of the war. Preoccupied with my own life as always, this was actually the first I?d heard of Salam, and I went off to check his blog.

If you haven?t read it (which I?m sure you have) then you really must. Salam has an articulate, informed and wry way of writing that is a delight to read. He?s also in a position to tell us stuff about how the invasion of Iraq has affected the lives of everyday people that the media and government would prefer us not to know – they don?t want the Iraqi?s humanised, they want them to be either ?the enemy? or ?pitiful peasants unable to do anything for themselves?.

Anyway, all that aside, Gaiman also mentioned, as I have said previously here, William Gibson (although he didn?t post a link) whose blog I then independently came across after doing a Google search on the phrase ?why blog?. Later on, the Guardian mentioned Gibson?s blog too. Then Salam Pax?s. Then the BBC mentioned Salam, as does my mate Andy in his blog. Reading Salam?s blog today he mentions William Gibson in passing. Now I?ve just gone to Gibson?s blog and he?s talking about Salam?s blog and what a good writer he is. (Salam that is, not Gibson, although Gibson didn't get to be Gibson without also being a good writer.)

My head is starting to spin.

For ages I?ve noticed how links propagate through the internet, although I?ve never really taken much notice of it. The idea of memes is not new, nor am I particularly well read about it so I can?t really start throwing up insightful comments on the whole thing, but it seems that these memes seem to either be circulating faster, or that there are pools of memes within which the same people constantly paddle.

I find it quite comforting, in a sense, that I am paddling in the same memepool as people that I either already admire or whom I am coming to. I?m not the best connected of people – I do not have enough time to do what needs to be done, let alone trawl the net for juicy tidbits to pass on to you, but it feels good to be getting my ankles wet the same way Gaiman does.

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