Of Blog Vampires and Dead Kittens
By John “Vampire Slayer” Blyler
(Originally posted on the original Always On Network, Aug’04)
Catchy title, eh? But what does it mean? Before I can answer that question, I have to tell you about a little research conducted earlier this year. Seems that the folks at Hewlett Packard Information Dynamics (ID) Labs determined scientifically that the most-read bloggers aren’t necessarily the ones with the most original ideas. “Using newly developed techniques for graphing the flow of information between blogs, the researchers have discovered that authors of popular blog sites regularly borrow topics from lesser-known bloggers — and they often do so without attribution,” notes a article from Wired News. Taking credit for the mental contributions of others is hardly a new sin. But it does have a cool new name; blog vampire (see below). These parasitic denizens of the cyberworld suck original ideas out of the blogs of others, for the soul (less) purpose of perpetuating their own blog existence.
Seems like the only way to catch “blog vampires” is with the blog-engine used by the HP researchers. If that fails, you could always check to see if the blogger in question includes meaningful reference links in his/her material. Say, for example, like the generous number of useful links provided at the end of this viewpoint piece.
And now for the rest of the story: What do I mean by “dead kittens?” No, it’s not a song from Doctor Demento, unlike the infamous “Dead Puppies.” It is simply a test idea concocted by the folks at HP ID Labs. The premise was as follows: post a bizarre idea on the web (like “Bloggers kill kittens”), then see how the idea propagates through Blogspace (see Blog Epidemic Analyzer FAQ for more information). How well did this test work? To find out, just search on the phrase “Bloggers kill kittens.” Although, for obvious reasons, almost every blogger did reference the HP ID Labs site
There are two morals to this story. First, don’t become a vampire blogger. Sooner or later your indiscretions will be brought to the light of day. Second, if you must kill kittens, be sure to list references.
Do you have an interesting blog? Know of anyone who does? Can you find my blog site, hidden on LiveJournal? If you care to answer any of these queries, drop me a line at …
Reference Links: Sadly, none of the original links still work.