You've probably noticed these people. They don't write blog posts that are particularly interesting yet each one gets 50 comments. They don't Tweet anything particularly witty yet they get 25 Retweets. They don't post particularly worthwhile status updates yet get 65 "LIKES." They have 10,000 or 20,000 or sometimes even 100,000 "followers" but they aren't famous in any sense of the word. How can that be?
Then, you start to notice that these people have the exact same people commenting on all their posts and Retweeting all their crap and LIKING all their shit. So you check those people out: they too have boring blogs, they too don't Tweet anything particularly witty yet get 25 Retweets, they too don't post particularly worthwhile status updates yet get 65 "LIKES," they too have 10,000 or 20,000 or sometimes even 100,000 followers but aren't famous at all.
And so on and so on and so on. Non-famous, non-interesting, non-relevant people forming an online circle jerk continually regurgitating each other's content and letting it bounce around like a racquetball trapped inside the court.
You get enough people in the circle, enough participants, and it makes it seem like all of the participants are actually creating something worthwhile.
I mean, they have to be, right? If that many people are interested?
Yet, they never create anything that actually escapes from the circle, that any one on planet earth outside of the circle cares about. They don't seem to offer much to the world.
This isn't Tribe-building, this is a tacit gaming of the system.
I'm almost surprised there isn't a web 2.0 company called Circle Jerk (though it would probably be called Crcl Jrk--vowels just aren't sexy on the web) to help place people into certain sized groups with others. They would all make each other seem like they all had something going on.
Maybe there already is this service.
Just please don't Google "circle jerk" to find out.