Animal Behavior: How Microsharing is Like the Honeybee Waggle Dance

Some of my readers may know that my background is in scientific research, and more specifically on the neurogenetics of animal behavior. One of the projects I was fortunate to be involved with was the International Honeybee Genome Project, within which I analyzed a family of proteins that likely underlies some of the social instincts that species exhibits. One behavior that honeybees perform is the “waggle dance,” in which a forgaging bee leaves the hive in search of a food resource, finds it, and then returns to the hive to report the good news via dancing. The speed of the dance is inversely related to the distance to the food, and the angle at which the dance is performed is directly related to the placement of the food in relation to the sun’s place in the sky (amazing, right?). Honeybees have been doing this for a long time, long before humans invented these “new” social media tools. Twitter and similar microsharing services like Identi.ca perform the same basic function. Twitter caught fire at the SXSW conference, where people would report that a certain afterparty was awesome, or too crowded, and attract or repel others to/from the location with the “resources” (free booze). Is this really so different from a waggle dance?

I had an interesting discussion about digital communication today at the international marketing and communications firm Fleishman-Hillard (thanks Rachelle Lacroix!) today, and one thing we discussed was why so many people seemingly still know very little about social media, generally speaking. Related to that, I’m fascinated by people’s fascination with the fact that I’m a scientist who’s gotten interested in social media and Government 2.0 – to me it just makes sense. It’s just one big animal behavior problem.

Posted via email from Mark’s Cheeky Posterous

Share and Enjoy: These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • email
  • LinkedIn
  • TwitThis
  • Facebook
  • Reddit
  • Slashdot

This post was written by:

Mark Drapeau - who has written 225 posts on Dr. Mark D. Drapeau.


Contact the author

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Mark Says:

    Hi Here’s how to get yourself a free Slim Playstation 3, Wii or Ipod Just go to merseynet. org. uk (copy/paste that into your browser but remove the spaces) and follow these three simple steps: 1)Sign Up 2)Do an Offer (e.g. LOVEFiLM, INTUIT, HSBC or Alliance and Leicester which don’t cost anything) 3)Get Some Friends To Do The Same Once you have done this you’ll be sent your chosen gift. It’s that easy and has been approved by the BBC. For those of you who do not want a PS3, there are many other items available, including the new iPhone 3G, Nintendo DSi and PSP Go Just go to merseynet. org. uk (copy/paste that into your browser but remove the spaces)

  • Popular
  • Latest
  • Comments
  • Tags
  • Subscribe

Search this website

Post Archive