Digital Identity

September 21, 2003

Attribution & Blog Currency

I want to document an interesting pheonomenon. When Person A 'blogs' an idea, the reader automatically assumes it is Person A's idea. This doesn't seem strange until you observe the same phenomenon when Person A attributes the idea to Person B. The reader still, even if only subconsciouly associates where they picked up that thought (or 'memes') with Person A's blog.

Case in point: These ideas that I'm presenting here in this post, are not mine. I am now attributing these ideas to both Alice Taylor and Paula le Dieu with whom I work. I have picked it up in conversations from them and am now blogging it. But, from now on when you the reader, recall this idea (if you ever do), I suggest that you will associate it with this blog (if not attribute it to it's author as well).

Furthermore, as Paula points out, if the originator of the idea's name(s) is not hyperlinked, then the impact of stating them is significantly less because they don't have a web presence. This holds true particularly in the case where the readers are more often that not, other bloggers.

I work in the web development industry, which happens to be the same place from where many bloggers and therefore readers of blogs come. The ideas presented on this blog are in large part aimed at an audience of my peers, with whom I work now, or may work with in the future. I am more likely to be known within the web community because of this blog. Therefore ideas on here are of some value, forming a currency within the circles of those readers who might visit this page.

Surely, this means that those in my industry without blogs, are at a disadvantage to those who do. Is this fair? Does that matter if nothing will change? Scholars have been doing this for eons (not to suggest that I or my peers are particularly scholarly). If an idea is not from a 'noteworthy' (literally meaning worthy of observation or notice) source who is known within the circle of alumni peers of the author, then no attribution to the conciever of an idea is usually made within a paper or publication.

This is also a child of its parent phenomenon, the 'digital divide' between the information rich and information poor and between the blogs and blog-nots.

Alice and Paula conceived this idea and pretty well all the other thoughts presented within this post after noticing that some of their ideas were being presented on blogs, by other members of their professional peer group. They don't have blogs or websites, so there's no hyperlink to more about them. Will you remember their names, or this blog?

Posted by Ant at 08:21 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack