Shiny Penny 2001 D Macro April 30, 20101

Image by Steven Depolo

My thought process started with a comment I stumbled across recently on a blog the name of which I can’t hope to remember. The author was responding to a user complaining that he [the author] had taken the easy route” when he attached a link to an informative post rather than summarizing and republishing it as his own. It went something like this

As a community there should be the mentality of giving credit where credit is due. It’s thus necessary to provide credit in the form of forfeiting your traffic to the original author.

In other words, adding a meaningful thought doesn’t justify directing web traffic away from the original poster and towards your site. It’s this mentality that makes the blogging community so unique. I see an opportunity.

Unlike other online social communities, bloggers possess an unbridled appreciation and value for the work of others. In an effort to show that appreciation a social norm has developed around the idea of providing authors the credit they deserve. It’s a positive one and shows itself far more frequently than places like Facebook and Twitter, where a horde of parody accounts rip each other off within seconds, to the point that it’s utterly impossible to discern the true author. Well, what if there was a way to give credit in the form of say… credit?

You’ve heard the horror stories. The value of the penny is shrinking by the second! The coinage bearing arguably our most beloved president is headed straight for the light and there’s nothing we can do about it. The situation is gloom for good ole’ Abe. What’s fortunate is that it’s the pennies own insignificance that makes it perfect for ‘other things.’ Of the dozens of possible reuses that might revive the penny, I think it’s best to keep giving them away.

I Like Facebook

When’s the last time you routed through a pocket full of change for exactly seven pennies to round out that perfect, no-change necessary transaction? Hopefully, too long to remember as that helps the cause!

Imagine for a moment that you

  • Give up one Dollar.
  • Get back one hundred ‘Likes.’
  • Like‘ things.

My thinking is that honestly most of us can spare a buck or two every once in a while, even if it’s just for fun. Say you offer up one dollar and get 100 somethings in return. Call these somethings ‘Likes’ and it’s simple enough, ‘Like’ a post and the author gets one penny or more. Now unfortunately for lesser-known bloggers this won’t really be of any value as they don’t achieving enough volume to make it worthwhile. Obviously the opposite is true for the big-leaguers. Millions of views and hundreds of likes could translate into something sizable. It’s more than they got before.

In all honesty there probably isn’t much promise in such an idea. It’s almost guaranteed that the practice wouldn’t catch on in more widely used networks until it adopted elsewhere. Not to mention the act of money handling makes an otherwise straightforward process into something much more involved.

While I don’t see much hope for this kind of reward system in the crude form above, with a good deal of alteration it has the potential to make a stir. Monetizing one’s personal thoughts with the internet is a relatively new idea and as a result there really isn’t a way to do it, yet. The first person to successfully implement a way of paying people for the data they generate online will likely make a lot of money.  ‘Likes’ are a solid place to start. Everyone wants them, many want more of them, and those that get them are a bit obsessed. Find a way for Kim Kardashian to earn some dough from her Instagram ‘Likes’ and I think you’ve got something.