It was with much amusement that I read the post by SaulK on “the outlet” on 6 things you did not know of rafiq.

Two interesting things stand out for me, 1) This post is less malicious then tickling a puddycat and is clearly a clever ploy to attract some attention, which is by no means a bad thing (or are their some thinly veiled frustrations hidden Saul? šŸ™‚ ) , 2) It presents a very interesting experiment as to whether the one provoked will respond quickly.

And yes .. he did. In fact he muti’d it himself within a couple hours.

This had me thinking .. let’s say you wanted to get hold of some lofty techy type celeb, fairly ensconced in the web, can this be a more effective means of communication than email? Email is so nasty nowadays, what with spam and the amount of it, that it has become a fairly ineffective medium through witch to get hold of the cognoscenti (eliciting that *damned spammer* response is easier than one might think) whereas a post on a blog or twitter referencing one name seems to not carry that same problem (perhaps the cognitive filters are differently applied, reading a blog post at ones one accord is different from having an email shoved upon oneself afterall).

As I’m writing this though I release that I have read these exact same thoughts somewhere else before, and I have found it. In July Doc Searls responded on a similar call via a blog by Rohit Bhargava.
Rohit has also seen and acknowledged this trend and his even coined it, “Egommunication”.

Ego Searches, also called Vanity Searches. Shallow or Human Nature? We like to know what people are saying, good or bad (we hope more good). We don’t like to feel people are talking behind our backs, but we don’t like getting sold to. Is this an opportunity for gold diggers and spammers employing clever tricks to have us view their wares? Perhaps.

To tack onto this idea I would like to add another observation, take a look at the number of comments at the end of Saul’s piece, normally he garners somewhere between null and two comments on a piece, this one had 9 comments at the time of writing this. What does this tell us? Link baiting works, lol. No but more importantly, people track themselves and those that they feel close, or involved with. Basically Rafiq’s groupies and enemies where also checking in. Thus sending out a certain proposition to a certain person might get you in contact with others with a similar interest around there, perhaps even a competitor in the space you never may have known about.

What’s your take on this? As a developer I have to ask, is there a place for a tool here? I reckon so, I wouldn’t mind a tool where I can slot in my name and have it feed me an RSS feed of new items found out there on the web, Facebook, Flicker, Twitter, Blogs, Web Searches wherever. Call it a vanity aggregator, perhaps one already exists? The idea of the Vanity Folder is not a new one.