Monday, December 12, 2005

Tag It

And while we're on the subject, there's another aspect of hip-hop culture that shares some similarity with the link: tagging. (No, not del.icio.us and flickr. First things first.)

I had this idea a while back and blogged it here. This afternoon I came close to meltdown trying to rewrite what I'd already (more or less) said. Before looking back at the old post (and deciding to abandon the rewrite) something great popped into my fevered brain: The link is the conduit by which the meme travels. I was more than a little suprised to see it sitting there - in the middle of the old post.

Here are a couple thoughts from the ill-fated rewrite:

The Wiki'p entry for graffiti compares tags to screen-names because they often "reflect some personal qualities" of the artist, also noting that the success of a tagger depends as much on prolificity as artistic skill.

It seems incorrect to talk about the prolificity (or ubiquity) of a link, but the idea makes more sense when referring to both links and memes. The link is the conduit by which the meme travels - not unlike whole car tagging, with the help of a link your meme can travel the five-boroughs and beyond.

Setting aside what the link itself might actually say - or how it appears, when the link is an image - the important element is where the link goes. While a tag might be the pseudonym for a gang, crew, or solo graffer in classic kilroy-was-here style, the link is packed with information.

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