On Tuesday this week, Politiken.dk, the news site of one of Denmark's leading newspapers, started using Twingly to show blog links to the sites' articles (I covered the news here, in Norwegian. More about Politiken's reasons for doing so here, in Danish).
As it happened, this was one day before the newspaper decided to republish pictures of one of the controversial Mohammed cartoons, and I had honestly forgotten about this when I blogged about it, but as the links started coming in I got a chance to investigate the effects of linking up blogs in this way further (I blogged about Norwegian and Swedish news sites' experiences with using Twingly here). I'd expected a lot more bloggers to link to the Politiken-article with the cartoon, but so far Twingly only shows five blog links.
Effects and causes
I got quite a bit of traffic from the link though, more than what I got from links from e.g. Financial Times or Washington Post, but less than what you'd get from many bloggers with a big following linking to you – but I think that has something to do with the topic being so controversial.
Not that I'm too fussed about traffic, I'd take 10 blog readers who are genuinely interested in what I write about over 1000 random readers any old day, but I'm curious about the effects of linking up bloggers this way. The people I talked to at the Norwegian and Swedish sites (Dagbladet, Svenska Dagbladet, Dagens Nyheter) who'd used Twingly for some time said it created more loyal readers rather than more traffic, and also that it provided valuable feedback for the journalists.
Bridge to the blogosphere
Or, for a more poetic description of the dynamics at work: "Dagbladet's use of Twingly helps to build bridges. It opens up a communication channel to the blogosphere. It's interesting for me as a blogger because it gives me exposure, but it ought to be interesting for the journalism as well because you get other perspectives," Eirik Newth said in a debate I covered recently.
Which reminds me, to get even more poetic, of a line from a poem, Landscape by Norwegian poet Aase-Marie Nesse (my translation): "We are all islands, in an abruptly deep, pacific ocean – but the word is a bridge".
I'm sure there is a great metaphore to be made here about how newspapers have become too insular, cut themselves off from the world or something, but I'm too tired to try to make it (suggestions welcome). A more cynical way to look at it is that linking up bloggers is an attempt to regain lost influence, seeing that power and influence on the web is all about connectivity (link via Martin Stabe), but I'm getting too flippant here, been up since before the break of dawn, so think I'd better get some sleep....