Mechanicalize…

…something idiosyncratic is today’s card. Conceived in the late 1970s, these cards predate the technical advances that ushered in a completely new ways of working and creating.

Me`chan´ic`al`ize
v. t.
1. To cause to become mechanical. (the free dictionary)

I wasn’t even sure if it was a real word. It is certainly an archaic one.

It’s the rare field today that does not rely on technology at some level. Even producers of fine art and traditional crafts increasingly turn to the Internet for information, supplies, community, and use technology to run their studios and organize their lives. The lowly diary, our secretive writings or records of experience, have gone high-tech, in the form of websites and weblogs.

The mechanical has been augmented or replaced by the electronic, digital medium, but the “mechanicalizing” of thinking, reflecting and documenting, has begun shaping the way we think, and what we find important to share. Take the obsession, focus, on the meme, the organic process of transferring an idea through a community. This process has been mechanicalized through repeated linking of sites, stories and ideas found on websites and weblogs. This automation changes the nature of this transfer, it is no longer organic, it is mechanical and contrieved.

An example of memes marketing madness can be found in the Google pagerank contest nigritude+ultramarine. An experiment in linkage, contestants vied to see who could gain and hold the no.1 page rank at Google for that combination of terms (previously returning no pages, probably because “nigritude” while it sounds vaguely offensive, is not a word. No, it does not mean “dark”).

Popular blogster Anil Dash holds the rank now, but didn’t build his links fast enough through the blogosphere to win. Merky forums, which seems to exist soley to win the iPod, the prize offered by spam proponents DarkBlue, (get it?) came away the winner. Google generally frowns on this blatant rank-grubbing and used to state in their ToS that sites who abused meta-tags or repeated text soley to return a hit when certain phrases or words were submitted would be removed from their crawls. I guess they are just too big and too automated to have such lofty goals anymore.

So, this combination of terms became the fastest spreading meme on the internet. But it was more a virus than a meme. It wasted people’s time and resources and the phrase, rather than being a spreading idea, means nothing. It might possibly be the fastest-disappearing phrase, once everyone gets around to cleaning up.

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