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Connections, Blog Tag, and Links

Could you or your business create an idea so good it spreads like a virus? I wrote earlier about Albert-Laszlo Barabasi’s book Linked. Among many other topics, Barabasi discusses the spread of ideas. Memes are ideas so good they spread like viruses. Memes drive links. Links raise natural search rankings, and links foster word-of-mouth buzz. Which is why I find "blog tag" fascinating. It took some digging, but I tracked the origins of blog tag back to October in England. On October 18th, Sharon Jacobsen wrote a blog post called Collecting People. Sharon's a writer. She described how she keeps a file of interesting things done by folks she knows, so she can get first-hand insight into such experiences as "spent several years as a patient in a psychiatric hospital", "sailed across the Atlantic with no previous experience", "is bi-polar", and "cleared 1.80m in high jump". Sharon invited other folks to share little known facts about themselves. Fast forward sixty-seven days to today. Sharon's invitation has morphed into "blog tag", where a blogger shares five little-known things about themselves and then tags five other bloggers to continue the game. At this writing, "blog tag" shows 14,848 results on Google Blog Search. (Technorati shows 148k results, which I don't believe, as their results look noisy. But their "blog tag" chart is interesting -- today, it shows a peak on 12/6.) In short, Sharon's meme has gone viral. Having been tagged (thanks, Stephan!), I'll do my part to spread this harmless contagion. So here are five little-known facts about Alan:
  • Walking. I've walked across New Zealand, England, Maine, and Vermont.
  • Hyphenating. I was the Kaufman; my wife was the Rimm; we wanted the same last name so we both took it.
  • Reading. Yes, voraciously. Amazon reports over 400 books (egads!) since my first order on 3/18/97, and I buy books elsewhere too. Fan of the Amazon Visa card which awards points towards Amazon gift certs.
  • AMCing. I spent four summers working in the Whites for the Appalachian Mountain Club. Pinkham '85, Galehead '86, Dodge '87, and Trails '88. Proud to be OH.
  • Navigating. I have the worst sense of direction of just about anyone I know. Please don't ask me to tell you how to drive somewhere. I could get lost in a brown paper bag. (Somehow I do better in the woods than in cities.)
And here are five tagees, sorted alpha: Tag -- you're it. Merry Christmas, all! Update 12/27/06 Scott Silverman pointed out that he's not eligible to play this crazy little game as the Shop.org ShopBlog doesn't belong to Scott, it belongs to the association. (Perhaps "5 things most people don't know about Shop.org"?) Looking around for other illustrious and fun people for that fifth spot, I was suprised at how many of them are already in the game, usually tagged mid-December. A quick search suggests he might still be untagged, so I'll tag out to Ilya Vedrashko, who blogs with great insight on the future of advertising technology over at MIT's Adverlab. Ilya, care to participate?
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