Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Another Minute of Micro-Fame and Source Amnesia

Sunday afternoon, I saw this retweet by Andrew Kroll of Mother Jones, whom I started following during the Wisconsin Capitol protests:

Twitter retweet: Remember when Planned Parenthood & NPR crashed the market, wiped out half our 401Ks and took TARP money? Me neither.
Here's the original tweet:

Joel Housman tweet: Remember when Planned Parenthood & NPR crashed the market, wiped out half our 401Ks and took TARP money? Me neither.
I went to see who this @joelhousman guy was, check out some of his tweets, and decided to follow him and see what he had to say. He's a web developer in the D.C. area whose words tend to cover either politics or his work.

Soon after, I saw this tweet from Housman:

Housman tweet: Pro tip: Political jokes about NPR and Planned Parenthood will get you LOTS of retoots and favorites.
Then, just about 4 hours after his original tweet:

Housman tweet: 642 favorites & retweets so far. Okay, folks - you can stop now.

And a link to this graphic of his Twitter stats:

Twitter stats graphic showing favorites, retweets, etc.
Later that night, I saw this remixed tweet from someone completely unconnected to Housman in my Twitterverse -- one of the teachers from Diane Ravitch's network:

Dave_Orphal tweet: Remember when teachers crashed the market, wiped out 1/2 of our 401Ks and took TARP $$$? Me neither.
Then I saw this on Facebook Monday, from a local friend who has moved to Atlanta, who is neither a teacher nor a web developer:

Facebook post of the same wording as Housman's original tweet.
Then these two today on Facebook:

Facebook post with added words for public employees, spilled oil in the Gulf of Mexico and billions in bonuses.

Facebook post with added words for oil in the Gulf, billions in bonuses and paid no taxes.

Noticeably absent from all but the first retweet was any credit to the guy who came up with it. I only know Housman is the source because a journalist happened to be the first one I saw to retweet it.

Housman says on his Twitter feed that he had 5,000 retweets, but obviously, those got remixed, changed up, and sent out again by a lot of other people, if it's trickling into Facebook without his name and in different versions.

I'm fascinated by this type of source amnesia.

The best example I know is the case of my friend Nancy, who was a child care teacher and early childhood trainer. She wrote a piece that she used to hand out in her training sessions. At some point, it got typed into a computer by someone who didn't know or care who wrote it, and posted to the interweb, and now Nancy will never get credit for this example of her creativity. Maybe you've heard of it: It's called the Toddler Property Laws (1. If I like it, it's mine. 2 If it's in my hand, it's mine...). 127,000 hits on Google last time I checked.

I wonder how Joel Housman feels about it. From his more recent tweets, I'd say he seems amused and maybe just a bit bewildered. He keeps warning his new followers that he's as much a web geek as a political commentator, so they should be prepared for a wave of HTML5 references -- acknowledging the newly felt pressure to perform in the media circus we live in.

Update: One day after posting this, I've seen it four more times on Facebook. Now is the time where I lose track of the total.

1 comment:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Interesting example of life in our times.