We did RSS before the Times did, but when the Times did it, everyone followed. That's good leadership, as ex-Timester Jonathan Glick likes to say (he now runs a stealthish NYC startup). Same thing is happening with paragraph-level permalinks.
The concept of a permalink on a paragraph existed before I implemented them here on Scripting News, but it got enough exposure here to get other people interested, and they've been appearing in a smattering of places on the web, notably in Jay Rosen's PressThink blog.
Then Daniel Bachhuber did a WordPress plug-in, and all of a sudden there are a few dozen sites doing it. He called it WinerLinks as an ode to me and my blog, and I won't discourage it. It's nice to get recognition!
Earlier today Zach Seward tweeted that the Times had done paragraph-level permalinks too. It's a different implementation, but the idea is similar. Instead of the link appearing at the end of the paragraph (seems more natural to me) the Times links appear at the beginning. And instead of appearing by default, you have to click the Shift key twice, with your pinky touching the tip of your nose. Actually it seems to work even if you don't do the pinky thing, but I like to do it anyway.
When you do the magic incantation, nice paragraph symbols appear, and if you mouse over them you get a tool tip and when you click on it, the permalink to the paragraph is placed in the address bar of your browser, ready for you to copy and paste it or shorten and tweet it.