Grand Theory of the Internet? Today We Are All Aggregators

March 19, 2010

We’re really still waiting for someone to propose a unified field theory of the internet. I remember the New York Observer had an article saying that Virginia Heffernan, a Times reporter, was shopping a book proposal promising just that. Haverstam tells us that Yesterday’s Salad is really a miscellany, to which he turns to discover what’s going on in the world of intellectual discourse.

Without setting out to do it, I think we’ve become an accidental aggregator. We don’t just post links, but all of our discourse relies on them. We hope someone will find us by linking to other pages, or share our tangents via link. Our original pieces become aggregations of our intellectual process.

Of course, the same could be said of footnotes, but links are rather different. 1) Footnotes require effort to follow; with links, you just click. 2) Links are the metric for determining page rank across the internet. Only with links do you exist in this global economic space.

This is overly reductivist, but it’s still something to consider and keep in mind when next I post about the year in film that was 1979.

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