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Highschool: Rankings in the digital age.

Rules and regulations, rules and regulations, Parks and Recreations.

Our essentially preposterous need to categorize into lists every single act of human behavior is getting a little old. In this particular case, let me spare World Records and other such characters, we’re here to discuss everything that exists within and because of the Internet.

Once removed and twice proven that you’re somehow on top and more successful, smarter or richer (maybe not in monetary terms) there is little else we can do. There is no greater egotistical overindulgence than to see your name on a list. Namely any. You could be appointed the third most evil man to ever walk this Earth and be proud of it (you probably worked your ass off to get there, so kudos to you, brutal unnamed African dictator).

Long live mechanization and the scientific method, we’re now able to put almost anything into an ordered list.

1. Does anyone else,
2. Get the feeling,
3. That this is getting a little ridiculous?*

I can’t even begin to convey the true nature of what drives this behavior, mainly because it escapes me. I haven’t been able to pinpoint why we rate by number or order in groups as if that was needed to make ourselves understood.

The internet, more like the contemporary phenomenon dubbed “social media” (arguable, as all media is social by now) has brought upon the dawn of an evolutionary leap for this previously isolated social idiosyncrasy. We’re now in a leveled playing field, we finally have something to look for when comparing one another.

Hello High School. Successfully turning the internet into a popularity contest has spawned a slew of services, moderators (dictators of popular will, sorry) and countless, pointless, joyless methodical calculation. Formulas for popularity.

Count your numbers people, you are now worth 54. Fifty four what, I don’t know exactly.

Before I let you go, let’s take a look into the word popular shall we?

Popular as conceived today:

liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group

Popular in its true form in the digital age:

intended for or suited to the taste, understanding, or means of the general public rather than specialists or intellectuals

Similar, yet not the same. Welcome to the age of fabricated intent for popularity’s sake.

*Have a nice day kind reader, you’re my number one.

  1. Sep.8.2010@2:19 pm - Bruno Belcastro says:

    Maybe.. just maybe, we’re forced by nature to compete and the result of this competition appears in the form of a list, rank or something.

    I know it’s silly.. highschool of whatever.. The key to this issue is to know if why can rely on the source of those rankings or not.

    But I agree with you, lists can be really stupid.

  2. Sep.8.2010@2:53 pm - Beto says:

    Thanks for pointing to one of my favorite peeves on the Internet. Seems like the times where gaining recognition online by working your ass off and doing your best are gone. See any widely visited blog these days? It’s all lists of this, lists of that. Sure, it’s a resource that works because it appeals to the primal instincts of human curiosity and that’s not gonna change anytime soon, but it also means it’s been used and abused to death already and I’m personally sick of seeing it everywhere. What was wrong with thoughtful, readable posts?

  3. Sep.8.2010@4:18 pm - Fabricio says:

    Ohh… Human nature’s love affair with popularity (whatever that means). You gave a couple definitions on what popular means but what is hard to grasp is what makes us want to be popular?. It’s a narcissistic force that drives us to do whatever (not what we like, feel or think) to gain recognition even if what we did didn’t deserve one. This has been with us for years, but now it is the time when people are more easily influenced than ever. We love to follow and be influenced and we oversee that the so-called influence we accept and long for is distancing us from being genuine and original.

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