I was just perusing some blogs and found a reference to the red paper clip guy. Apparently, he just got done up on 20/20, less than a month after Boing Boing posted about him successfully trading up for a house (?!).

Two things come to mind, albeit in fairly divergent areas. First, I'm really curious about how quickly stories like that take off and what the key tipping point is. I remember reading about him sometime late last year, but it wasn't until earlier this month that I suddenly started seeing him being written up on other blogs. To a certain extent, you could see that through Google Trends, although it doesn't give you hard numbers, nor will it give you the channels through which the story was distributed (I hardly think 20/20 found the site just by searching for random ideas). On a side note, one red paper clip is apparently very popular in Canada.

I think it would be great if there was some way that you could discernably track the progression of an idea, pinpointing exactly when and how it was redistributed across the Internet, where it gained attention, and so on. While this might be a pipe dream now, I'm hoping that it will become a reality in the future. Given recent progress in linkage systems, social bookmarking, and other tagging services, I'm going to guess that someone will come up with something that will eventually make this into a reality.

The other thing that I'm curious about is just how far this "come-up-with-a-financially-lucrative-performance-art-piece-and-post-it-on-the-web" thing will go. The red paper clip thing, after all, isn't the only one of its kind. About a month ago, a guy named Remi Frazier got written up in Business Week because he was going to go to NYC with $100 with a vow to film himself in the process of making a million dollars(!) in a month. Although he didn't quite get to his goal, he did manage to get a bunch of volunteer consultants to help him out and sold the firm shortly after his deadline.

I think there's a fine line between cool innovation and half-baked lunacy. While I'm glad that there are people out there that are willing to test the limits of what can be done, I find that it serves more of a novelty function than anything else. I wonder what other people think.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.