Monday, September 10, 2007

Lists, ranking, attention etc

The tendency to reduce stuff to lists and top tens is an interesting cultural phenomenon. You get endless TV shows that garner views on things like the best movies of 1986, newspapers with top-selling hardback non-fiction, and radio shows of greatest glam-rock hits. This sort of list fever often mutates through the web as a meme - ‘my 5 favourite things’ and variations on this theme. Sometimes I find these quite challenging – if someone asks me what my favourite movie is, I go…depends what genre, what language or what mood I’m in (although I must say it’s usually ‘Letter from Unknown Woman’ – Max Ophuls never did better). I was discussing this with someone the other day who said “Yes, but what someone chooses is so telling.’ Well, that’s interesting and I’m almost persuaded, but when you aggregate this into the nation’s favourite movie it tends to get less meaningful. Nevertheless who’s consuming what is important information and although it’s embarrassing to confess so openly I have been watching the usage statistics on e-learning and got a rush of pride to see Digikids at number one.

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