We are reaching critical mass

This is so cool! Everybody is figuring it out [ John, Sam, Peter] all at once. Along the way, Peter asks some cogent questions:

What would Emily Post say about attributing links we've gotten from Link Mavens and Connectors?

How do we balance the needs of the larger network with the needs of the individual nodes (aka people) in the network? [ Peter Drayton]

Peter's essay especially interests me because it cites John Hiler's excellent piece about how blogspace makes Malcolm Gladwell's ideas visible. I've been thinking along similar lines for years, and had recently raised the subject again. I wondered whether John's article was influenced by my recent item, though it doesn't say so, and quite possibly wasn't -- these ideas are, after all, simply "in the air." Then I wondered whether my older article, which I know was influenced by Gladwell's Jan 1999 New Yorker story, cited that story. I was sure that I had, but in fact, when I went back and looked, it turns out I hadn't.

I wish I'd cited Gladwell in my own 1999 article. But I've cited him often since then, and associative software would easily connect the nodes Udell and Gladwell in the social-networking dimension of concept space. Now here's something to ponder. As our reading and writing activities become increasingly transparent, it becomes feasible to automate citation cross-referencing. Consider, for example, how some of my sources are visible to you in the right column of this page.

How far do we want to go in this direction? I really don't know. It's an experiment I've wanted to do for the longest time. As we reach critical mass, the conditions are finally right to do the experiment. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2002/03/13.html#a133