Kenn (kenoubi) wrote,
Kenn
kenoubi

Opinion meme; analysis thereof

(from papertygre)

Comment here if you would like me to tell you, without reservation, what I think about you. Then post this meme in your own journal if you wish.

This meme gives the immediate impression of being backwards. “Wouldn't it be more natural for a person to ask others to tell him unreservedly what they think of him?”, I immediately think upon reading it. However, on further thought, I think this backwardness makes it more efficient as a meme. Making a post asking people to tell you about yourself is essentially asking people for a favor without offering anything in return, whereas this meme is making an offer without asking anything in return. Thus, people respond, asking to hear about themselves, because the cost is low (mostly just the risk of hearing something you'd rather not) and then later on feel guilty about “taking advantage of” the original offerer without extending the same offer. (At least, that's how it worked for me.)

Thus, the transaction structure of this meme (note, only direct benefits of a step are listed with that step) is:

  • Initiate / propagate: low-cost (copy the meme to your journal), low benefit to sender, low benefit to recipient
  • Respond: low-cost (post comment asking for opinion), low benefit to sender, low benefit to recipient
  • Follow-up: high-cost (give evaluation), low benefit to sender, high benefit to recipient

I think I prefer the interview meme, where the structure is more like:

  • Propagate (read interview, request interview): low-cost, high benefit to sender (they got to read the other person's interview answers first), low benefit to recipient
  • Respond (send interview questions): medium-cost, low benefit to sender, medium benefit to recipient
  • Follow-up (complete interview, give interviews to others if requested): high-cost, low benefit to sender, high benefit to recipient

Actually, what I find surprising is that the opinion meme seems so well suited to propagation given how little benefit it has to the person who becomes infected by it. Unless they enjoy spreading their opinions more than they value their time. Maybe that's it.

It seems like this type of analysis could be extended. For example, one implicit factor that I could have made explicit is how large of an audience a particular step reaches—many people would value reaching a larger audience with their content, which the opinion meme seems particularly poor at, since in order to even see the results you have to either be the requestor or keep reloading an entry to see what changed.

Anyway, after all that stuff, yes, I am actually participating in the opinion meme, not just propagating it, if you're interested. :-)

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