May 19, 2009

The Long Tail In Action: Anatomy of A Meme

Literally a year ago, Canadian blogger DearJaneSample started something called "Brand Timeline Portraits" which I also took part in. It was a simple idea: use logos to make a timeline of all the brands you interact with during the course of your day. There's a lot of psychology in there too in terms of which brands you select and which you don't-- I tried to pick ones I actively interacted with and/or whose identity I knew off the top of my head, e.g. I have no idea what brand our bath towels are.

Anyway, the meme got a decent amount of play and then sort of fell off the radar.

So I was surprised a couple of days ago, when I looked at SiteMeter and noticed a couple hundred more hits than was usual for a Sunday. Most all of which were heading for the Brand Timeline post from May 2008. That number grew yesterday and today, with literally a thousand more hits than I usually get, all of them to the aforementioned Brand Timeline post.

I investigated.

It seems that on Sunday, a guy named Andrew Baron, posted about the meme on a popular blog called Rocketboom. (And Andrew, if Google Alerts gets you here, I'd love to know how you stumbled upon it a year later.) The Rocketboom post was then picked up on Monday by Jason Kottke on his equally popular blog. Which caught the attention of Cory Doctorow, a well-known sci fi write (among other things) who posted it last night on the Godzilla-like Boing-Boing, and hence, a full year later, a meme was reborn.

Pretty cool. Though with the exception of having replaced my Blackberry with an iPhone, I realized that my day is still exactly the same as it was last year. Thus confirming that I am indeed a committed creature of habit.

PS: With all those hits, you'd think at least one of the brands I'd mentioned would have reached out to me, but so far, no takers ;)

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