ck/ck has written a great post called Internet Archaeology. It’s essentially about lazy blogging – posting up images with no credit to the source or the the original creator. He details the amount of webular digging that had to happen just for him to correctly caption a photograph, and exactly why he did it.
“So why go to all the trouble? Why not succumb to the hordes of people who don’t give a fuck? Well, someone’s gotta give a fuck, and I wouldn’t want my own photographs, designs or anything else I’ve made floating around on the internet without people being able to find out who made it or where it came from. I would like to think it makes my blog all the better for going that extra mile, and I can only hope anyone who reads this blog can feel that extra care I try to put into it.”
I read this. I mulled it over. And now some thoughts:
Damn right. I agree with everything ck/ck says. It’s called a web for a reason. It’s strength is in its connections. If you don’t bother connecting backwards (source) as well as forward (readers), then that’s where the whole thing starts to lose any value. The ideal of connected information is becoming fractured, and it’s happening more and more with the increased popularity of simple blogging engines like Tumblr. This trend is of no use to creators or readers. It’s easier to throw a photo into a shoe box with other photos than it is to carefully catalogue it and store it with some consideration. The more people blindly post things without the associated information, the more the web becomes a massive, useless shoebox.
(You’re probably already thinking this). I’m 100% guilty of all those charges. I know this. I’m being a complete hypocrite. I’ve received a bit of flack for the lack of captions on Concrete Proof. I can try to justify this by claiming it’s an exercise in aesthetics, or it’s minimal, or it’s just for personal use really, so what if there’s no credits? But no. It’s easy. That’s all. I’m guilty of valuing quantity (and the associated traffic that brings) over quality. So I’m going to have a big rethink about how I do these things.
This is slightly tangential, but if we’re talking about creator-data, credit, identity, and the crimes of simplified blogging, then there’s another matter to discuss. Who the heck are you ck/ck? Your blog is great, your photos are without exception astonishing, and so far you’re the only person in the world who’s managed to make a decent iTunes icon. But you don’t give any information about yourself. No about page. No name. Nothing. How am I supposed to adequately credit your images, should I repost them, with no actual information about you? And surely the value of content is increased significantly if you know a little something about the creator? Otherwise, why not just post everything without credit? (See also: Khoi’s post on shallow identity.)
So I’ll make you a deal: I’m going to make an effort to give credit where credit is due. In return, could all you anonymous bloggers give yourselves some credit?