From: Keith Henson (email@example.com)
Date: Thu 10 Apr 2003 - 01:45:36 GMT
At 12:50 PM 09/04/03 +0100, Derek wrote:
> >Of course there are many memes associated with this
> >business, including those which spread panic among
>?>the population. We have already seen massive
> >disruptions of the travel industry.
>If it really is possible to track memes in the same
>way as one can track real viruses, it ought to be
>possible to produce at least as good a curve for the
>putative 'travel avoiding' meme as for the real virus.
You can sure look at the fall in travel to Hong Kong. The airlines didn't
reduce flights by 20% without justification. Or you could do surveys to
see how many people are concerned. Incidentally, memes about avoiding
danger are some of the best spreading kind.
>However, nobody has even begun (or can even begin) to
>do that, and in any case, if the predictive power was
>only as good as that for the real virus (and that's
>really as good as it could ever get - even with
>complete knowledge of the mechanisms), it wouldn't be
>something an airline CEO would want to bet his/her
I venture to say they do it all the time. Airlines expect a certain number
of passengers based on studies when they start a new route and expect the
numbers to grow in a predictable manor as people become aware of the
offering by this particular airline.
>Contagionism, as a repdictive mechanism for social
>phenomena, is real a non-starter. The best that can
>be done is to analyse things in retrospect< and say<
>here was a contagion> any attempt to predict the
>future using it is futile>
It is my opinion that people in marketing and related areas do that all the
time. Doesn't *work* all the time, but they do it anyway.
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