[…] I fear that, in the interest of substantiating this horribly inefficient system we’ve concocted for disseminating information by attaching it to 1) noise and 2) reverb, we are confusing reproduction with creativity, and confusing source with origin.

So in addition to the two characters Popova has appropriated, may I suggest a third: one which enables someone not to just cite where information was discovered, but where the person citing it believes it originated. This way, someone linking to this article I’ve just written will accept it for what it is: a comment as opposed to a genuine flash of original inspiration or an original exercise in journalism. Not everything I produce is worthy of exaltation.

There is an opportunity here that we are missing to hard-wire this rabbit hole so that we are assured of an exit. It takes being more than present, alive, and awake to be a creator – if consciousness were the only ticket required, the Web would have been created a thousand years ago by ants.

? Origin: The Curator’s Code

So you know how I suggested the Curator’s Code doesn’t directly address credit to the author of a piece of content? ReadWriteWeb’s Scott M. Fulton III adds that missing piece with this suggestion.

Which, if I’m grasping this all correctly, would look like this:

? Down the Rabbit Hole with Hyperlinks in Hand: On the “Curator’s Code”

I’d hope that any Curator’s Code (in the sense of “code of conduct”) would begin with crediting the person who actually created the thing, and then with crediting the person who first shared it.

By the way, I see this all as shorthand; if you’re making explicit statements about creation, discovery and attribution, the symbols – at least for now – seem redundant.

Right now, this may all still look a little cumbersome… the same way that hashtags weren’t the easiest things to use on Twitter at first. And then along came platform support, first from third parties and then from Twitter itself, where clients and services recognized the hashtag and automatically linked it to searches on the term, allowing topic-based conversations on Twitter. (In the long run, the Code, or something similar, could get us to some kind of a machine-readable attribute – along the lines of the “rel=” attribute for web links, only more widely adopted. And that could be tremendously popular.)

The Curator’s Code may go in this direction as it becomes easier to use – built-in keyboard shortcuts, for example – and more widely adopted. But hashtags became popular because they were useful to the person using them, allowing them to join a conversation or tag their tweets. For curators, then, the benefits of attribution have to become tangible, as opposed to just Doing The Right Thing (as much as I’d like that to be enough).

And that may mean content creators have to do some hard thinking about the rewards we can offer to people who curate and share our content.

Posted via email from Rob Cottingham’s posterous

Subscribe to SpeechList

Insight, advice and ideas for speechwriting, speaking and leadership communications — from my inbox to yours.

Thanks for signing up! Now just one more step: check your email inbox for a confirmation link, and you're all set!

%d bloggers like this: