michelel72 (michelel72) wrote,
michelel72
michelel72

The atomic theory of social networks

In my world, social groupings are like old-school atomic models.

Before the physicists in the room flinch and then start throwing things, let me clarify that I know that atomic theory these days talks about electron clouds and stuff like that. I know that my knowledge of scientific theory, never strong, has degraded into a cartoonish approximation. In other words: creative license, okay?

But to me, social networks are like that old model of the atom: electrons circling a nucleus. Sometimes the electrons swap around from one atom to another, but they do the circling. They don't become nuclei themselves; that doesn't even make sense.

In this system, I'm an electron.

I know nuclei, of course. They're the people who have circles of friends. They're the people I'm a friend of. But it's silly to say they're my friends; that's not how it works.

I know this because I've tried to play the nucleus. I've declared a gathering or an event. I've tried to pull together these other particles. But electrons don't, can't, attract other electrons. A particular force is needed to hold a group of people together, and not only do I not have that, it sometimes seems I have the opposite of that. The atom is unstable; the grouping doesn't hold. Degradation and entropy win the day.

I know there are other factors. I don't host gatherings for about a dozen reasons, most of them unrelated to this flight of fancy. I'm the person who somehow can let a month or two or fifteen slip by before getting around to answering a simple "are you alive?" e-mail. I don't have all that many group-conducive interests. I am in possession of a few social-ineptitude insecurities that, while they fall well short of Asperger's or autism, still sometimes leave me feeling like the "anthropologist on Mars". It's not a simple as a metaphorical intrisic "charge".

But if the model fits ....

So if you find yourself wondering why I never invite you anywhere, or ask you to hang out, or call or e-mail you out of the blue, or suggest any sort of interaction of my own initiative ... it's probably not anything about you. It's just that I'm a dork. Just so you know.


In unrelated news, LiveJournal's autosave feature isn't the salvation one might necessarily hope. But I will survive.
Tags: dorkville
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