Focal Curve

Scooping Kottke

The humble hyperlink is the very cornerstone of the World Wide Web. Moreover, links to cool stuff are vital to the practice of blogging. Sure there’s the whole personal publishing thing, the sharing with the world our knowledge and opinions. But what makes a blog a blog is the occasional frivolous link to some nifty/informative/funny/weird website or nugget of webly joy accompanied by the ubiquitous refrain “check this out.”

The other day I finally got around to including my del.icio.us bookmarks on the externals page, embedded via their spiffing JavaScript linkrolls (which were in turn discovered via Jon Hicks’ del.icio.us bookmarks, how very meta). I was planning on including the linkblog in my redesign by pulling the feed through Magpie, but the scripty method is just so easy. Of course, I may still switch to Magpie soon since Magpie caches feeds locally while the script queries the del.icio.us servers every time the page loads (which is why it lives on the externals page and not in my sidebar, fewer hits).

I long resisted the drive to include “check this out” style links on my blog mainly because everyone does it. But the drive to point out cool stuff finally overpowered my hipster nonconformity. The problem now is that I feel a new obligation to post fresh and interesting links on a regular basis. I find most of my cool links via much more popular linkblogs (BoingBoing, Waxy, Fark, et. al.) and the various sidebars of other blogs I read, so those links I find cool tend to be pretty well distributed by the time I find them. This adds some pressure to make my links ones you haven’t seen. Del.icio.us helpfully provides a count for how many others have bookmarked a particular URI. My target is less than 10, but the occasional FP is deeply and strangely satisfying.

One very fruitful source of check-it-out links is full-time rockstar of blogdom Jason Kottke. I don’t know where he discovers all his remaindered links (“several per day”), but at least 80% of them are ones I’ve never seen before. Imagine my surprise, then, to find that the latest site to get kottkedotted was one I found all on my own weeks ago. I discovered this handy and fascinating guide to detecting doctored photos while googling about for some history on the famous “Surgeon’s Photo” hoax of the Loch Ness Monster, and for two glorious weeks I was the only one on all of del.icio.us to link it. A few others came along in the weeks following and it grew from there. Then today it landed on kottke.org and has hence been bookmarked to ubiquity. But check this out. I was first! I scooped Kottke!

Now I gotta find something new…

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