Earth & Science

Serendipity at World’s Greatest Coctail Party May Help Conserve Wild Tigers

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Until this Wednesday, New York Times-blogger Andy Revkin may not have known he was teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio to help conserve the threatened wild tiger. But then he noticed, as Revkin writes in a post on his blog, that he had received a burst of new followers on Twitter. Revkin discovered that DiCaprio had picked up on a suggestion he made that Apple — which has long named its Macintosh operating system software after the tiger, the snow leopard and other wild felines — could use some of its (heaps of) money to help preserve the wild cat. DiCaprio had re-tweeted Revkin’s suggestion giving it an extra boost of attention.

The Snow Leopard -- Endangered Species and Namesake to Mac's Famous Operating System. Foto: Macopedia, Flickr.

What is at stake here? To me, the example is a case of self-induced serendipity facilitated by the web — by social media. It shows the capability of the internet to bring together the like minds of the world who may not have known they were alike in the first place — or rather, who may not have known in what ways exactly they were alike.

DiCaprio is obviously following Revkin on Twitter for a reason. But the question here is whether that reason has now shown to hold new potentials?

The internet, I think, is like the better version of a gigantic cocktail party. On the web we are relieved of sifting through all those boring people we don’t really want to talk to. We can go straight to our peers. Cass Sunstein, the law man currently administrating President Obama’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, has argued that this is a bad thing because it prevents us from meeting with people we don’t already agree with — it creates echo chambers. But sometimes, though, and hopefully for the wild tigers in this case,  it can also produce some interesting encounters that spur new and constructive thoughts.

In this case, all of that depend on Steve Jobs and whether he sees this as a branding opportunity for Apple. As Revkin says, Apple is free to choose the parsimonious path if the company wishes to do so. But now, if they do choose that path, it will be known as a conscious choice. There is no chance Steve Jobs hasn’t seen the suggestion laid forth by Revkin and DiCaprio.

The wonders of the self-induced serendipity at the world’s greatest cocktail party are at play. I wonder what they’ll do.

This post is written on a Mac.

Written by Earth & Science

November 22, 2010 at 6:30 am

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