posting about Sziget in the lyrics thread made me remember.
next time i'm going to a big festival you guys are going to help me come up with rumours to spread.
(this is also partly notes to self, plus illustration on plans for brainstorming about practical memeology)
only on the last day, my dutch camping neighbours told me about their mindfuck idea, some famous rock/metal band (i forgot which) had cancelled because the singer was sick or something, and they were trying to spread the rumour the organization flew over the Smashing Pumpkins to perform instead.
( and then the discussion drifted off in what kind of famous bands we would like to see, we agreed on Aphex Twin, they mentioned he was gonna perform in the Netherlands soon, and .. etc our rumourmill never went anywhere :-P )
anyway, something slightly more believable + having more funny consequences could be enormously successfull because:
- a festival like sziget with nearly 400k people on a small island is a terribly dense highly active hive.
- provision of official information during the festival is, to put it lightly, not particularly effective. the english booklet is quite thin, contains only a short and incomplete summary of the larger bands performing. the hungarian booklet is a lot more complete, but hungarian is such a weird (finno-ugric) language, if you're not hungarian you can't read it (even if you, like me, brought a tourists phrases dictionary). apart from that there's an intercom system that just broadcasts the same message every hour (in four languages hu/fr/de/en) or so.
in other words, if there's anything happened that's not according to plan, nobody is going to know.
- the hungarian and non-hungarian groups (usually 50/50%) on the island do not mix too much, so focus should be on the western-european group, who do communicate with eachother a lot (in english, so the french population may also be somewhat of an outlier, even though most young french have a reasonably understanding of english these days)
- information about news of happenings on the festival will be very popular to spread (smooooth) because nobody has a fucking clue what's going on outside the english booklet, and everybody can see there is everywhere so much more going on than that
this reminds me btw of the Dutch Lowlands festival, which lasts 3-4 days (a long weekend), they print and spread a free daily "lowlands newspaper", filled partly with pre-written articles and interviews with the artists performing that day, reviews of the performances yesterday, and most importantly, news of current actual events and information about the things going on at the festival. so it's be much harder to spread false rumours there.
but, if you compare Lowlands to Sziget, you see a huge gap in professionalism of organisation (which, TBH, gives Sziget a much better atmosphere, since the enthousiasm and friendlyness of the volunteers generously makes up for the organisational flaws)
um, anyway, you get the point. any thoughts on the subject? would this sort of thing work for festivals on your side of the ocean?
also, i think rumours about "this famous artist is going to perform instead of XXXX" are not really that interesting, can you guys think of something that has a more funny effect?
We've been talking a bit about memetics and the properties of memes. So from what I know of memetics, here are some concepts which may make it easier to talk about this stuff. (The terminology I use is from Unleashing the Ideavirus by Seth Godin, in which he's talking about memes in terms of marketing. He calls a successful meme an Ideavirus.)
Velocity - a measure of how fast an idea spreads from one party to another
Hive - a network of people who exchange information. Information travels very easily within a hive, especially when regard each other as credible sources. PD.com is a hive. A class of third graders is a hive. Friends who talk about HP Lovecraft are a sort of hive.
Sneeze - a sneeze is a transmission of a meme between two people. If I see a cool commercial, and then I ask my friend if he's seen that commercial, that counts as a sneeze. Basically any time you mention a product, you are sneezing that meme.
Smoothness - how easy it is for someone to sneeze the meme. Sports trivia is very smooth in regards to sports fans. Really boring or complicated topics are not smooth.
Another factor influencing smoothness is whether or not the meme presents a risk or reward to the sneezer. For example, the iPhone is considered cool. You might seem cooler for knowing about the iPhone or mentioning your friend that has one. If you're attending NAMBLA meetings you'd probably want to keep a lid on that. So NAMBLA membership isn't very smooth.
Promiscuity - One's likelihood to spread a meme. Really promiscuous people sneeze a lot. Marketing teams twist their brains in knots trying to figure out how to get the cool guys and the hot girls to start using their products. Trendsetters and people of authority tend to be very promiscuous.