Social media taxonomy

Coming to iNat from blogging, I miss more info about iNat users - observers and identifiers - the people who make up iNat. NOT the personal details, but the broad sweep.

This was fun as she plays with taxonomy to divvy up ‘observers and identifiers’

The successful social media network is an aquarium. The influencers and posters are the denizens — jellyfish, filter feeders, sharks, octopuses, rays, squid, clownfish, and so on. The lurkers are the visitors, marveling at the shape and color of the aquarium’s denizens. Trying to make the aquarium actually functional is an impossible task

The friendliest of the influencers and posters are over in the petting zoo section, where commenters and reply guys can reach into the water and touch them. The less friendly ones occasionally smash through the glass to take someone out; put in the same tank, they may consume each other.

Luckily iNat is virtual and I am safe over here IRL.


Interesting metaphor.

I have generally thought of social media as something like secondary school, with the full complement of emotionally unformed, socially awkward, and intellectually curious sorts being pushed around by nascent sociopaths, entitled brats and swaggering jocks, the whole mess overseen by under-resourced, mostly well-meaning and inevitably burned out minders. Aquariums are at least pretty.

And aquariums are probably more apt for iNat.


I was going to volunteer to be a sea anemone … but they have predators that chew bits off their tentacles. Then they get tramped by Big Feet.

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Anyone who has maintained a community fish aquarium in their home realizes that not every species of fish gets along with every other one. You have to monitor the community, separate the bullies from the rest, and keep an eye on the different fishes that form alliances. Some of the fish unexpectedly get bigger than the others and end up dominating the community even while they mostly get along with the rest. It requires time and attention and probably why I don’t keep fish anymore.