Music. Food. Blogs. YouTube. What’s the one thing these all have in common? They all satisfy a particular taste at a moment in time.
Take music. I have a very eclectic music playlist. Everything from reggae, blues, old school punk, OG rap, to hard core metal. What I find interesting is that on any given day I have a “taste” for a particular genre of music. I rarely just randomly listen to my playlist. When I have a taste for punk, that’s all I want to hear. If some other genre pops in, it just doesn’t sound right. Often the current taste lasts for several days and then I burn out and a new taste kicks in. It’s the same with reading or watching YouTube. I’ll get on a political kick and simply can’t get enough analysis of some weird arcane political topic. Day after day. And then suddenly, I can’t stand it anymore and move on to reading motorcycle tire reviews or the history of the Crusades or something.
The brain is an amazing thing. I find it fascinating that your brain can crave a particular input. Why do I get that dopamine hit listening to Rage Against the Machine one day, but the next it might sound like screeching static to me? Why do I have a taste for reading nothing but autobiographies for a month, and then suddenly the only thing I can stand to read are escapist spy thrillers? Does everyone’s brain work that way, or is it just me?
The real killer is when you lose your taste. That feeling of flipping through the radio, channel after channel, and nothing sounds good. Music, talk radio, sports, nothing is working. When you cycle endlessly through twitter, blogs, news sites and nothing seems even remotely interesting. What causes that? Is the brain on overload? Are you tired and don’t realize it? Dehydrated and the receptors aren’t firing? The brain is a complicated creature.
I have very little point to any of this. I started thinking about it this morning as I scrolled through YouTube. YouTube’s algorithm drives me nuts. You’d think at this point they’d be more sophisticated. I get that If I search or click on a thumbnail about a particular thing, I’m expressing interest and they want to serve me more videos about that topic. Fine. Except that they flood you with that topic.
Search for how to repair a lawnmower, and for two weeks your feed will be flooded with nothing but videos about lawnmowers, lawn care, gardening, lawnmower reviews, lawnmower racing, secrets to the perfect lawn, the best oil for lawnmowers, women in bikinis mowing the lawn (ok, I might have clicked on that one), redneck lawnmowers, careers in lawnmowing, etc… Do they not understand that taste is fleeting? How come they can’t figure out that if I haven’t clicked on a lawn mowing thumbnail in two days, I’m probably no longer interested in that topic?
Maybe rather than the random babble I push out from time to time, instead I’ll start posting nothing but my current daily “tastes”.