My fascination with lightning bugs is is far from unique. When looking for a suitable metaphor for my thesis project about social media I found the lightning bug to be perfect.
I learned that they blink at a particular speed in order to find mates of their own species. This felt like a good representation of identity, which is why I adapted it as my logo or icon. I drew the logo and the spiral in the light on its back ended up looking like a finger print, which reinforced the idea of identity perfectly.
The idea that they blink as a heart beats, and in effort to find a mate I thought to be romantic, and an engaging concept.
I was introduced to the science of emergence through an NPR podcast, Radio Lab in my surface level biological research on my little metaphor. In Amphawa, Thailand there is a river bank lined with lightning bugs that synchronizing, lighting the whole river at once. Synchronization made sense in a project about social media. The general idea is that the bugs would synch and that brightness would be able to be seen further in the woods. I imagined people synchronizing, and that when multiple people responded to the same idea their response would be seen by similar people farther away.
The metaphor felt perfect. Everyone in virtual space was a lighting bug trying to find similar versions of themselves.