If you look at the postings on Twitter or status updates on Facebook, one very soon realizes that if there is any important event then there are many ‘metaevents’ around it. Suppose that there is an event: a concert. Many people like to post updates expressing their opinions about the concert. Also, many posts will be related to their experience of attending the concerts, many photos or videos from the concert etc. This is a common situation. If one analyzes these sites — so called real time updates are really centered around a major real physical event. There may be an update related to the main event and then there are all these updates related that main event. All these updates related to the main event may be considered metaevents.
Another example: there is an important report in New York Times. Publishing of that report may be considered an event. Now there will be many tweets giving link to that report, many blogs about that report. All these are metaevents. These are events about an event. One should clearly distinguish between an event and metaevents. Like metadata, metaevents may play very important role in understanding events and their effects and implications.
This is a facinating thought.
It reminds me of aspects of chaos theory.
The main event would be an ‘attractor’ and the meta events would be the unpredictable actions of the individuals which would form a predictable or emergent pattern of behaviour.
There are so many examples in nature, from the behaviour of a crowd of people to a flock of birds.
It always amazes me how one ‘event’ can have such ramifying consequences. Compare a scenario of the concert being cancelled as compared with it being on. – Like the Michael Jackson concerts. How many people will now be in different places, doing different things, meeting different people, having different accidents, each event stimulating a new cascade of events of their own – ultimately changing lives, even creating or destroying lives.
A fascinating thought.
Very well said. It fascinates me also how events are related to each other and, as you pointed out, how an event results in spanning a web of events that in turn may result numerous webs and so on. Some of these will be short lived and some will have a long-term consequences.
Surprisingly, this has not been yet recognized by the computing community. It is well recognized in history and some other areas — Freakonomics is all about this phenomena.
An inevitable scenario is when a metaevent becomes an event in its own right, with its own metaevents.
It would be an interesting exercise to map out all the event of your day, charting their meta events (the ones you can measure), and creating a list of wich metaevents hit a dead end, with no resulting metaevents.