I read this week an interesting mass e-mail by Lawrence Lessig, the Stanford Law School professor who is one of the moving forces behind the Creative Commons movement. He wrote about the concept of a "sharing" culture of people motivated by other things than vocational need. He made clear that he was not trying to force anyone to sing for free. He instead was pointing up the world of people who start things like wikipedia.
Today, not for the first time, I thought about not only sharing but acknowledgement. I can think of two friends who do wonderful work--one an artist and one a musician. They both share their work with others for free over the internet. Each gets tons of downloads and views. But neither gets many simple notes of thanks.
I am not good about thank you notes for gifts and things, so I understand how people get careless.
Yet I think about the importance of attribution and acknowledgment in this new open source-ish culture we all evolve slowly but surely. Credit is often denigrated, but credit matters too--a simple word, a smile, a nod, an inscription in the guest book. It takes so little to thank so many for so much. I will remember this.