Jump The Cats

Jump The Cats
Originally uploaded by xadrian.
Living in a cyber world is really quite interesting. Things move so fast that before you know you've been left behind, something else has started, peaked, faded and left you behind.

But on the tubernet, things can somehow take on a life of their own and if you're careful, you can jump in early and....well nothing really. Internet memes are the online equivalent of knowing the popular bands, wearing the cool clothes and speaking the cool words. Only this time, you can be cool without having to actually BE cool. Complete nerds and washups and hacks and creeps can be Online Cool just by being at the forefront of the next fad.

Which is wear I usually come in. I could be considered a nerd or hack or creep but I would never consider myself trendy. I've never bought clothes because other people did. When I was little, my parents bought clothes they could afford and that might last. When I was older I never really bought clothes, I just wore clothes I had from high school. Now I just buy clothes that fit and won't get me fired from work. (Actually, that's not true, Mrs. A usually buys my clothes.)

I don't buy music I hear from Top 40 stations. I could tell you almost nothing about current music trends. I listen to old stuff; 80's, Big Band, 70's rock. I follow a few artists when they release new music, but I don't know who's the biggest/latest thing.

So when things like All Your Base or LOLCats come along, I'm usually left clueless until all the cool kids have had their fun and moved on to the next thing. The 700 Hoboes is a great example. The idea was made, a few cartoonists did it and it was clever and neat but people moved on. Then six months later, I come stumbling into it and think it's the next big thing. Meanwhile the original people involved have done other things leaving me to pound the deceased 700 horse until it dissolves into its elementary molecules.

Understand, these things are fleeting. They have little meaning at all if you were to step back and really take a look at it. I mean, who cares that a girl made a parody of a guy who had made a parody of two guys who made a music video and put it online? I certainly don't.

The trouble I run into is that Newsweek does. And Rolling Stone, and Wired and G4 the Times and I'm sure very soon NBC or Paramount. This isn't about being cool anymore, it's about being seen. When a fad hits, you want to get your name in there and show people what you can do. You want post up a picture of a cat with its head in a bag with some poor grammar caption so that more people may look at your other stuff (photography, art, writing) and then maybe become a fan or a part of your network.

It's schmoozing web style. You want to be where the cool kids are so that when cool things happen to them you can be involved too. But persistence pays off so it's not as if you can get away with being lazy. You have to work hard at not doing anything important.

Or, you could hope to get lucky and have your real skills seen by the right people.

Fame is something a good percentage of us crave to differing degrees. I'm sure some will argue with this, but "fame" can be boiled down to just a high level of recognition and in the end we all want to be recognized for the work we do. Whether you're a volunteer worker at a social outreach center or a struggling painter in a small town or a mid level data integrity consultant, you want to be recognized for the hard work you do. You want a raise, a bonus, a contract, funding, a showing, etc. You want someone else to say to you, "Oh, I see what you did there."

Carry on.

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