There's some interesting writing in this article, "The Internet of Beefs", about the structure of modern internet sniping and the feudal-like system of it all. It seems at once onto many points and uncomfortable to read.

BUT: the top and middle seem more true to me than the end. I think what's missing from the article is that beef-wars aren't some holdover of an end-of-era but rather *emergent behavior* of current social networking structures.

Retooling is possible.

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@cwebber The emergence of transient social identity boundaries and the defense and attack of their associated social identity markers.

There's something about the medium of current social networking systems that gives rise to that emergence, as a complex system.

I think it has to do with the swarm intelligence that we see in social insect colonies like ants, which is not to say that (hyuk hyuk) "twitter is a hive mind", but rather to say that the same systems dynamics that give rise to emergent collective intelligence appear in this context as well.

@cwebber Ants leave trails of pheromones in their environment, and this altering of their physical environment provides a kind of nonlinear informational signal that results in emergent collective behavior (this is called stigmergy).

IMO humans leave trails of social identity markers in our media environments, which induces the same sort of collective behavior in the form of emergent collective group beliefs.

Twitter's format vastly accelerates this process from the normal scale of decades or centuries to the matter of mere minutes, allowing us to see it in action in real time.

@cwebber Humans, like ants, use social identity markers to tell "who is in the society" and who is not. For ants, this is the right scent. For humans it can be just about anything... hair style, skin color, a sports team cap, or the right word or meme that indicates group belonging.

I think, emergent collective beliefs and social groupings arise as collective behavior due to the stigmergic depositing of these evolving social identity markers in our shared media environments.

Internet social media has accelerated this process in a hyperized way.

My references are primarily Swarm Intelligence: From Natural to Artificial Systems by Eric Bonabeau and others, and The Human Swarm, by Mark Moffett.

@cwebber So ultimately differentials in these rapidly emerging social identity boundaries create a constant churn of mini turf wars of the social identity belonging of the many people who come across them on social media.

Internet of Beefs is one way to look at the phenomena, I guess from a psychological and evolutionary behavioral lens.

@cwebber i never did wind up finishing it, but i started drafting a blog post about this a bit ago:

i share that sense of the author being onto some things and also being kind of uncomfortable about it.

@cwebber this is super weird and reads as complete gobbledygook to me, but it was also super entertaining for some reason

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