Tuesday, February 10, 2009

These Are a Few of My Favorite 25 Random Things

I've been holding out against the latest Internet meme in which people list "25 Random Things about Me" and tag others to similarly divulge their lists. After being tagged, I've given in to previous viral fads for posting "eight random facts" or "five things you don't know about me," but this one seems to strain the conventions of reciprocality that continue to be important in online communities, as much as I've enjoyed reading lists by McKenzie Wark, Amy Bruckman, and Eszter Hargattai and as interesting as these disclosure memes may be as a distinct genre propagated by social network sites even more vigorously than more public blogs. Obviously the appeal of this pyramid scheme for selective and ironic self-display runs beyond the circle of scholars of Internet culture, since even former California governor and present-day Attorney General Jerry Brown is getting into the act with his own list that includes a dislike of the pesticide malathion and nostalgic memories of being a high school cheerleader.

Digital wags are also getting into the act. Andy Borowitz has posted "25 Random Facts about Marie Curie," and David Mirsky, former guardian of the Worst of the Web, has suggested cataloging "25 Things about Nothing."

Update: In "Facebook's '25 Things' Too Many" and "Charles Darwin Tagged You in a Note on Facebook," news organizations like the Los Angeles Times and Slate get into the act.

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