Social Markers

You all will be familiar with my writings on Social Objects by now.

The Social Object, in a nutshell, is the reason two people are talking to each other, as opposed to talking to somebody else. Human beings are social animals. We like to socialize. But if think about it, there needs to be a reason for it to happen in the first place. That reason, that "node" in the social network, is what we call the Social Object.
Increasingly I've been using a term, "Social Marker" to describe a certain type of Social Object. I've found it especially useful for explaining certain ideas to marketing folk.

When two people meet, the first thing they try to do is place each other in context. A social context. So they insert some hints into the conversation:

"I used to know your Uncle Bob."
"I work at Saatchi & Saatchi's.
"I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell for years."
"I'm a member of Soho House."
"I was reading Doc Searls' blog the other day."
"I was college roommates with your ex-girlfriend."
"I was sampling some fine Islay single malts the other evening."
"I bought some Versace shirts from Barney's last week."
"You're a Red Sox fan too?"
"I think Andy Warhol is overrated."
"I think Led Zeppelin is underrated."
"I was having dinner with some guys from Goldman Sachs."
"My wife thinks the Upper West Side is really good for schools."
"San Tropez is too expensive in February."

Some random notes on Chaos...

  • Scientists
    • Maxwell "Matters and dynamics (1877)"
      There is a maxim in studying the physical phenomena, that is, "Same phenomena result in same." This is true in all cases.
      And there is another maxim, "Similar phenomena result in similar." This is appropriate for many phenomena too, but not all.

    • Henri Poincaré "The science and the hypothesis (1902)"
      Are there anything that are more complex than the orbit of planets?

    • Henri Poincaré "The value of the science (1905)"
      The trajectory of planets is so complex that no one have derived its equation.

    • Henri Poincaré "Science and methods (1908)"
      An initial small error will result in enormous difference. So no prediction is efficient and statistical phenomena appear.

    • van der Pol "Frequency demultiplication (1927)"
      Often an irregular noise is heard in the telephone receivers before the frequency jumps to the next lower values.
      The shaded parts correspond to those settings of the condenser where an irregular noise is heard.

    • Li and York (1975)
      Period three implies chaos.

    • Hajime MORI "Dissipative structure and chaos (1994)"
      With small perturbation, chaos is unstable and not reproducible. But a long-time mean on the path is stable and reproducible.

    • Masaya YAMAGUCHI "An introduction to chaos (1996)"
      To explain the Oriental philosophy in European language is needed. Chaos is one of these languages. The symmetry causes only periodic motions (like duality), but non-symmetry (a property of Oriental philosophy) causes chaos. Chaos is a source of creation. It is a tradition of the human race before the Greek era.

  • Philosophers or Literary Men
    • Lao Tzu "The Tao Te Ching" (B.C. the 6th Century)
      The Tao produced One; One produced Two; Two produced Three; Three produced All things.

    • Lucretius "On the Nature of Things" (About 100 B.C.)
      While moving in some direction, at unpredictable times and at unpredictable positions,
      it (atom) changes the direction of motion so slightly that the movement can be altered.
      Unless the atom often changes the direction of motion obliquely,
      (…) the nature could not generate anything.

    • Gaius Petronius (the author of the Satyricon) (A.D. the 1st Century)
      Even a chance has causes.

    • Blaise Pascal "Pensées" (The 17th Century)
      162 (…) Cleopatra's nose: had it been shorter, the whole aspect of the world would have been altered.

    • Jules Verne "From the Earth to the Moon" (1869)
      "I cannot show you the actual trajectory of the rocket between the moon and the earth. (…)"
      "Because this problem is called the three body problem, and the theory of integration has not been developed enough to solve it.

    • Jules Verne "Floating Island" (1895)
      Surely, even the marvels of science cannot reproduce the beauty of nature.

    • Friedrich Nietzsche "Thus Spake Zarathustra" (1883-85)
      I tell you:
      Man must have Chaos in themselves
      to be able to give birth to a dancing star.
      I tell you:
      You have Chaos in yourself.

    • Ray Bradbury "A Sound of Thunder" (1952)
      "If you bruise some kinds of plants, the effects will be piled up little by little like differential.
      Here, a small error would be expanded, and it causes terrible results after 60 million years."
      "Such a tiny thing! A mere butterfly!"

    • Isaac Asimov "Spell my Name with an S" (1959) (in "Nine Tomorrows")
      "Your case is very interesting. I recommend you to change your name into Sebatinsky."
      (…) "That is, you say I should change my initial? From Z to S? Is that all? (…) How will this change give effect to what?"
      (…) "I don't know. It might affect you although I don't know why."

    • Alfred Bester, "The Dark Side of the Earth" (1964)
      "In Pleistocene, I happened to step on a small insect and killed it."
      "(…) I saw a phantom that the world has completely changed because of its death.

    • Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari "Anti-Œdipus - Capitalism and schizophrenia" (1972)
      In sum, all the confrontations between absorbing force and repulsing force generate the affirmative and open sequence of various elements of intensity. These elements never represent the final state of equilibrium of a system, but represent the quasi-stable stationary state, and a subject undergoes and goes through these states one after another.
      Various disjunction points on the body without organs form some converging circles around the desiring-machine. In this way, the subject is produced as a remaining vestige by the side of the desiring-machine, and, as an appendage or as a part, it goes through all the states of circles and moves from circles to circles one after another.