A phenomenon “raging like wildfire” throughout social networks is nothing more blasé than a chain letter. In the current iteration, folks are asked to write a note listing 25 things about themselves and then tag the note with 25 friends. These friends are then to write up their own list of 25 things, tag another 25 friends, and on it goes in perpetuity. I’m not sure what the point is, but I think Bernie Madoff somehow made billions off of it.
Armchair economics theorizing might tell us that the type of people who engages in this activity is either those who derive a relatively large satisfaction from the activity and/or those who incur a relatively small opportunity cost by engaging in the activity. This would lead us to postulate that those chain latter devotees whom we’ve all gotten to know a teensy bit better in the past few days are likely to be either relatively self-involved or are leading relatively dull lives. They may even have both bits going for them. Thus, we arrive at an unfortunate equilibrium where those who are most likely to participate in chain letters are the least likely to have anything worth writing about.
Then, if the armchair is comfy and time is rife, we might theorize about the type of person who does economic analyses of those who participate in chain letters. Unfortunately time is not rife, however, as packing must be done for Pennsylvania. Nonetheless it’s probably safe to conclude that that type of person would be a pretty righteous dude.