Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Meme of the Link

The Web's Link-Driven Attention Economy - Scott Karp @ Publishing 2.0

The small controversy over Lane Hartwell's removal of all her photography from Flickr is based on the issue of attention and citation. It's easy enough for college and graduate students to understand; whenever you use the work of another author you always cite it. In fact, one of the mantras I remember from graduate school was, "when in doubt, cite it." With the rise of the blog and the online video and picture services the need for a meme that reinforces this idea of citation through link or comment is critical. Yet, I don't think there's much to worry about. Tag-clouds and the tagging culture growing within the Web 2.0 culture contains this meme in a way. A tag is used to help others search for particular items and the usage of tagging and tagging services should help mitigate the effects of those less informed who fail to add a link or credit. Eventually a link should pop up and lead someone to the proper site. Messy it is, but we can't force every person online to link or credit appropriately. All we can do is call them on it and attempt to reinforce the meme that a link or credit is always necessary when you use someone else's work.

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