Have you ever dropped food into a pond and then hundreds of fish swarmed to the surface? How abut throwing potato chips up in the air at a beach filled with sea-gulls? (I don’t recommend that beach thing—it’s scary). On New Year’s Eve, while sitting alone in front of my computer, I experienced this swarm phenomenon -- virtually. I referred to it as a “happening” that night, but Princeton’s definition
of “rave” captures it best: “an all-night techno dance party”
Earlier that week I watched the TED Talk from Steven Strogatz: “How things in nature tend to sync up
,” so I was finely tuned to spot this type of behavior. Steven Strogatz is an engaging speaker and mathematician—and I highly recommend spending the 20 minutes to watch him.
For those non-twitter users, a phrase or word preceded by a hash tag ( # ), allows for all tweets containing that specific code to be captured easily into a single thread. Tweeple following the public timeline begin to see an abundance of tweets containing that secret code. New users start asking what the # signifies, which increases the frequency of tweets with the “hash phrase”--as I call it—appearing in the public timeline.
Reciprocal follows are expected among the participants, and you can secure a lot of followers in a short time. While attending @typeamom ‘s rave (#nyetwarty), there were a few moments in which the number of people following me accelerated like a speedometer- 0-60 mph within 5 seconds. It was exhilarating! In roughly three hours (10:00pm – 1:00am) my total number of followers grew 12%. The Ravers didn’t have to be at the same PLACE to virtually dance. However, being at the same TIME added a distinct feeling of connectedness for twitter users around the world.
This will be a three part story because it is already too long for a blog, but this rave phenomenon is worth studying in depth; especially for those organizations that want to use social media to spread a message globally. Image below is from “17 Ways to Visualize the Twitter Universe”
Do you think twitter raves are ok to participate in, or just a way to falsely inflate your number of followers? If you wish to comment and you're not a Stark ReAlity member, you can respond to me @amystark on twitter.