Call#: Van Pelt Library HM851 .L56 2004
This article discusses the ethics of link baiting, defined here as "great content with an angle that prompts links and social media action." The term itself has a negative connotation due to its connection with bait as a way to trick people, although it has been around too long to change. Included are various quotes from media marketing firms for or against the term and offering alternative terms. Some of these terms include 'viral copyrighting,' 'magnetic content creation,' 'branding wankers,' and 'social media marketing.' The argument here is over what sounds most benign. Although the idea is to use such content for advertising purposes, the dispute is whether the nature of that advertising is to trick people or just expose them to something new. In any case, the article says that the future of advertising on the internet is link baiting, whether or not it goes by that name.
This article offers a generally negative view on the term 'link baiting' while seemingly supporting its underlying purpose. The author Brian Clark is an internet marketer, so it makes sense for him to support it, otherwise he would be in the wrong business. What the article mentions but doesn't explore in great enough detail is that such advertising is the future. Internet memes will be created deliberately through viral marketing and sent out to compete with less self-conscious creations. This has far-reaching implications that are not the subject of the article.
This article is a response to other blog posts decrying the term 'link baiting.' Link baiting refers to the practice of creating content or a series that promotes linking. The result of such linking is popularity, spreading an idea or creation (such as an internet meme), or simply attention. Opponents to link baiting would say that it is an unethical practice because it involves deceiving people or questionable attention-grabbing. However, this article argues, that isn't what link baiting is, and real link baiting offers something to the viewer, whether it is information, entertainment, or food for thought. Furthermore, link baiting is a necessary form of promotion that anyone who wants create an idea for people to consume must do.
This article seems to be a little juvenile in the way it seems to be defending link baiting for the sake of the author's ego (so he says). While there's not much to it, the concept of link baiting is central to spreading a meme. Even for something that on its own merit encourages people to link to it (something that the article does mention), link baiting is perhaps the starting point. Whether that starting point is telling one person who will spread it to enough people or enough people that someone will spread it is a different issue.
This chapter gives a history of the term 'meme' as it was coined by Richard Dawkins and Douglas Hofstadter's later book on the topic. The next part of the chapter talks about viral memes, which the author considers to be any meme designed to propogate itself. These memes "invoke an emotion and insist on being spread", such as chain emails. Those appealing to topics that provoke reaction, such as pity, fear, or sex, are considered to be the best examples of this. As for schemes, the author defines them as a set of related memes shared among different people. Schemes spread in a way similar to memes, but also through membership. In other words, if certain members of a scheme are considered to be good authorities or role models, other people, regardless of whether they accept the memes on their own, will become a part of the scheme.
The headings in this chapter look good, although the information (especially the example under viral memes) seems somehow off. As a brief history of the term 'meme' and an exploration of the schemes, this chapter is thought-provoking, but I'm hesitant to necessarily take the ideas he proposes as fact.