I am about zero for life ([1], [2]) starting an internet meme, but some folks had a nice reaction today to a word I made up 😉

It happened today, during a session on Remix Culture: Building a Digital Divide Between Students and Teachers at the NMC Online Conference. The backchannel chat was bubbling out of control, like it should. There was discussion on copyright & IP on content that gets mixed… which typically starts from Copyright 1.0 — meaning restrictions, what you cannot do, etc.

My mind wandered to the flip side, the part of Creative Commons that greases the skids- the notion that the simple act of receiving attribution is sufficient to put one’s creative works out there. I still get a self-infating high when someone links to a photo, a blog post I have made. It fuels me to do more. I recently got a message from someone requesting use of a 15 year old photo I had posted in my web site. Wow! Last year, a German rock band asked to use another old photo for the cover of their CD. Amazing! Just seeing the inbound links to your blog is enough to motivate you to write more, correct?

So it is all about the simple mighty tiny link.

But the word “Attribution” sounds vague.

So I tossed out a new word — Linktribution— attribution via a web link, or offering a “linktribute”. Corny, silly word game. Dave liked it. He was even faster to the blog.

There are more then these ways this happens:

* Provide a link to the original photo when using a flickr image, in a web page, or done in powerpoint. Link it! Attribute it! Linktribute!
* When writing a blog post, at the bottom, give credit to another blog where you may have seen the story. Link it! Attribute it! Linktribute!
* Writing in a discussion board about content elsewhere? Link it! Attribute it! Linktribute!

What happens when you link? You give credit. You motivate the link recipient to keep at it. You add a few more points to someone’s Google ranks or Technorati chips. You connect your readers to more content. In a blog that supports the technology, the person may get an automatic notice via a ping/trackback.

It takes very little time to linktribute, and it can do so much.

Oh well, we’ll see if this meme can fly, or limp, or shrivel.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. “Linktribute”…hmm…well, doesn’t totally roll off the tongue, but I will try to slip it into conversations here and there.

    As an aside, while you and I and pretty well everyone we know seems to be up to our eyeballs in the Creative Commons, almost daily I am blown away at how many people I meet, in our field of education/educational technology/learning support/etc, who have NEVER heard of it. I mean people who are running whole support units and have power to create change. It’s been a real shock for me. I guess I just thought we were over that hurdle. So maybe’s that’s the meme to focus on for now….CC….say it again…Creative! Commons! Or maybe “Creative Commons (now with added Linktribute™)”

  2. You’ve spoken to the heart of one of those “posts I mean to write some day”.

    Creative Commons has been out there for years, yet when I ask in workshops or listen to colleagues, it’s like you suggest- a moderate number of people nod in recognition, but dont really seem to “get it” or use it, especially as a means to “find stuff they can use”.

    It’s a slow moving revolution….

  3. Wouldn’t say you were 0-for-2, since you got a few responses on the Blog Ha! meme. Linktribution… ‘lectrocution… potato… potatoe… 🙂

    I’m still amazed at the number of people who don’t really know about CC. Many have heard of it, perhaps in an in-flight mag or something, but they don’t realize the implications of deliberately making something sharable.

    I get occasional emails from folks asking if they can use photos on my Flickr stream. I appreciate the notice, and love hearing about how the images are used, but the whole point of CC is that you don’t have to ask. That whole concept is completely alien to most people, who are constantly hammered with MPAA/RIAA “Don’t steal this [fill in the blank]” messages and threats. News reports of 3 year olds and grammas being sued for [random infringement of monopolistic hegemony].

  4. The point is not that there are people like Stephen and Beth who have perpetually linktributed in their work, but why so few others do it? What can be done to spread the good word?

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