Today's quote
A Swedish journalist's axis of evil: Facebook, MySpace and Gmail

The value of linking out revisited

Yes, I know: to most of you the power of linking out is self-evident. However, in my worklife I'm constantly reminded that linking out - e.g. to add transparency and additional value - is a foreign idea in too many quarters.

Linking out is part and parcel of what makes you, as a blogger, journalist, editor, part of a wider, distributed, conversation, as I've touched upon before. Still, this recent conversation reminded me of how widespread MSM fear of linking out still is - a fact that made me take extra note of these words from Jeff Jarvis on the value of the link:

It is the key architectural element supporting a new structure of media, the steel beam that enables journalism to build past prior physical limitations, to grow taller, wider, and stronger than before. Just recently, I have heard confusion from working journalists about the role of the link. They still think it is an endorsement rather than an extension or an FYI. They don’t always understand how links power the algorithms that organize knowledge today, and how links are the basis of media distribution from now on.


To what degree does the ideology of the "user-friendly" regime go against "the link?"

It would seem that a link is very user-friendly, as it gives one the option to explore sources one otherwise wouldn't even know existed.

But on the other hand, we're being told blogging isn't writing (not so much by Jeff Jarvis, but think of the people who have successful blogs about blogging), and that simple information organized in steps/lists/bullet points is the key to popularity in this new medium.

In other words: using links properly assumes a certain audience, an audience that really wants to know.

The "user friendly" regime, however, created "newspapers" like USA Today, which has "content." It would seem the equivalent of USA Today online would be a 30 second powerpoint presentation that is displayed to one in Flash and has more pics than text.

These are all just speculations and revelations of my bias. But I'm curious to know if I have identified a problem between the terms "mass" and "media," how can that problem be resolved?

I think linking to your sources is both user-friendly and the right thing to do no matter who your audience is. It adds tranparency and additional value to your writing; whether people choose to take advantage of the links you provide is optional, but at least they have the option.

I haven't actually encountered the proposition that blogging is not writing before, but neither do I subscribe to bloggers that present all their writing in bullet points.

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