Some of those who know me personally might know that I began my undergraduate studies in civil engineering. I transferred out of that after realizing that engineering wasn’t what I expected and that I wanted to try other things.
On my path out of high school and in university, I had a lot of exposure to physics – particularly mechanics of the static and dynamic variety. Fancy words for figuring out the forces responsible for making things stable and stationary, or making them move.
So I said to myself, “Self, these ideas, information, memes, trends, and things we communicators work with – they all move.” Or they stay stationary. But in the fields of communications and marketing we want them to move.
I began thinking about how Sir Isaac Newton’s theories, laws and formulae for describing physical motion can be adapted to describe, measure and maybe even predict the spread of ideas through social media with some level of accuracy. I’m not sure if any of the numerous companies and individuals involved in measuring the web have explored this path. I’d love to have a conversation about it with people involved in measurement and developing tools to do it.
I’m not even sure this is a feasible concept. Particle physics and projectile motion are very different from human communication. I began from the thought that messages and ideas could be described as having paths with direction, speed, acceleration, force… but mass is my stumbling block.
If you’re interested in discussing this harebrained idea of mine, it could be a fun conversation. Or maybe there’s something to it.
What do you think? Have you ever tossed around ideas like this?
Photo credit – Claire Sutton (Flickr CC Search)