The Loom

Everybody’s Doing It

i-de687414b97d2bb4356585fe74480934-iphonebig.jpg I’ve been a bit of a slave to trends recently. Everybody else has a Facebook page, so I guess I need one too–even if I don’t quite know what to do with it. Myspace? Uh, okay

As with so many things in the human experience, great or small, we are not quite alone when it comes to trend-following–as I explain in my latest column for Forbes. Check it out.

Per usual, here are some of the sources I used for the piece:

Transmission of multiple traditions within and between chimpanzee groups [The evolution of animal “cultures” and social intelligence

Spread of arbitrary conventions among chimpanzees: a controlled experiment [Free pdf]

And just to make clear it’s not just other apes who also follow trends…

Flower choice copying in bumblebees

Update, 12:30 pm: In response to a commenter, yes, I want Facebook friends. So, poke.

[Photo: JL on Flickr under Creative Commons license]


  1. #1 Carlie
    August 31, 2007

    That means you want us all to be your facebook friends, right?
    Um, right?

  2. #2 Carl Zimmer
    August 31, 2007

    Carlie–Of course!

  3. #3 Cairnarvon
    August 31, 2007

    You can’t use your real name on Myspace! You need a clever and/or obnoxious nickname, like [SB]ParasytBoi03 or ZiMmErFrAmE2007.

  4. #4 Greg
    August 31, 2007

    Have you considered the possibility that you’ve been infected with Toxoplasmosis? This foray into new areas of behavior certainly makes one wonder…

  5. #5 luca
    September 3, 2007

    I find facebook’s interface quite messy.

    But, having said yes to your friend request (I was glad to), you certainly seem to have had a blast this weekend, adding new application. I have come to wonder how much free time do science writers have. You are by far the most active of my contacts (and they include english undergraduates, so that’s saying a lot).

    On a plus side, I now know that we may (just) go and see a movie together. But what’s wrong with Rocky, uh?

  6. #6 Jonathan Eisen
    September 4, 2007

    What I find somewhat amazing and a bit dismaying is how few scientists seem to be making use of these new social networking systems and other forms of Web 2.0. I am not sure why this is but I have a guess – scientists are really conservative in behavior. They may want people to believe they are always testing new things but it seems they are not. The same is true for blogging. When I tell people I have a blog, they say “how do you get the time?” Well, my job is to communicate my research and my ideas and a blog is a much more efficient way to do it than just about anything else I can do with my time. So – Carl – thanks for exposing yourself as a Facebook member. And if anyone needs another facebook friend, well, poke me too. Here is my profile .

  7. #7 sg
    September 4, 2007

    …hope you don’t mind that I poked you. When I was in college- going on 20 years now- poke meant something entirely different (or maybe not). Anyway, a virtual poke can’t do any harm, can it?

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