Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Nod

Sometimes reading the web feels like traveling with Hansel and Gretel without breadcrumbs. Someone will send you a link, you read the article and spot a link to something tangentially related, and go read that article only to spot another item of interest... ad nauseum, until you have no idea how you came to read an utterly fascinating, out of your idiom, yet somehow still relevant web page or article on arctic apiary antagonists.

Case in point: I came across this article on inspiring The Nod. It comes from a blog whose contributors all write for a newish line of O'Reilly books, so we have mostly programming-centric articles here.

The Nod, however, addresses that social occurrence when two people with the same thing meet- a shibboleth of belonging and acknowledgement. We've all done it. If you drive a new-style alternative-fuel car, you know about the Nod in traffic. If you read an uber-1337 comic book, you know what I mean. If you wear an upscale line of footgear, you might have this experience every day. If you listen to out-of-production music on vinyl,

This very human behavior of socially identifying based on products goes beyond just watching other monkeys on the street wearing the same standard-issue generic "Go Local Sports Team and/or College" gang colors that does get you bland, passive mass-market acceptance. The Nod is the very specific "We're in on it" sense of togetherness you only get after you have chosen a particular item. This isn't snobbishness towards others, but rather unspoken camaraderie between fellow humans.

What about you? What makes you give someone the Nod?


catzmiyow said...

Just off the top of my head:

An obscure punk/oi band's t-shirt, whether official merchanise or homemade. A classic American car. A 1337-5p34k t-shirt. A Linux fish. Smokers in California. Someone crocheting.

Simon Dorfman said...
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Simon Dorfman said...

When someone says "Hey!" and I reply "Been tryin' to meet you, ooooh-oh-oh-oh-oh..." like I'm Frank Black singin' a classic Pixies tune. I feel alive. The Pixies are ingrained into my soul or something.