Caption and image (above) from our June 2009 post "A little Gingbird told us 'just say no' to energy tax increase." Darwin's Starlings on Otmoor, a few miles East of Oxford: "Individuals, but moving in a single entity. And the reason for this behavior? Well, thousands of eyes looking for predators on the roost site. Nothing could escape their gaze, no raptor could surprise this soaring mass of bird flesh … The birds are also maneuvering for position, social position." Totally awesome must-watch video here. More on how flocks of birds "wheel and swoop in unison," not unlike twitterers and other social network denizens, here.
"If you're always home on the computer, are you actually anti-social networking?" Pat Dollard twittered to no one in particular this morning. Fascinating question, right up our philosophical alley. "Check out the Latin root for 'social,'" we twittered back:
It's what the Tea Party movement has been about from its first baby steps a year ago, smart mobs self-organizing to pursue a shared goal, or in Glenn Reynolds's felicitous formulation, disintermediating the old-boy networks via the internet. So while there's "no substitute for the on-the-ground fellowship of red staters bonding behind enemy lines in blue-state Taxachusetts" — as we described our Scott Brown phone-banking adventure a month ago — even when you're just "home on the computer," you can be social networking to earthshaking effect. As Prof Jacobson asks playfully in his latest post on Prof Reynolds's WSJ column on the Nashville Tea Party Convention, "Why are these angry people smiling?:
This is similar to the phenomenon I witnessed during the Scott Brown campaign. The acts of fighting back and joining with others of like minds had a liberating effect.
Virtual or on the ground, social networking is a lamp beside the golden door for us wretched masses yearning to breathe free.