Patterns … Again


The other day, my son had got homework … so whats this about, all children get homework, whether they like it or not. What was interesting about the homework was that this was codebreaking. This was a story about two children writing secret messages to each other (maybe so the teachers cant figure out what they were writing), and the homework was to try and figure out the code. Interesting. There was no key, and the children were supposed to find out the key to figure out the coded messages. Some of the coded messages i remember:

3w3h3e3r3e3a3r3e3y3o3u

to which the reply was

7i6n5t4h3e2c1l9a8s7s6r5o4o3m

to which the reply was

eieweaeneteteoepeleaey

Interesting. I was at a lowss for a while trying to figure out what these meant. They arent very difficult until you see that they are meant for 8 year old children. And this is the itneresting part. Once he got on to the fact that there are some kind of patterns which we needs to look out for, it was a cakewalk. And this is what i am writing about. We find it easy to work with patterns. The brain probably recognizes patterns quite easily and we are able to make sense out of patterns more than we know we can, and patterns play an important role in the way we process information even where data may not be available. For example here, he had no data to work on, and once told to look for patterns, found it relatively easy to look for them. Like i have written before, quite a few times, we look at patterns and these patterns inform us about things maybe in more effective ways than data does, at times.

What is important is that in the realm of social media, where content is being created at a pace which is far more than can be analyzed in terms of data, it is this concept of patterns and the information that patterns tend to embed in them which could be an important aspect of trying to understand where the conversation is headed. Patterns are important because they, at times, show us a picture which data may not, like the coded messages which we just saw.

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