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Influence on the Web is all about connectivity

Danish news site starts linking to blogreactions

On Tuesday this week,, 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....


Hi Kristine,

It would be interesting to see if newspapers will use that idea here in the UK. I think that as Swedish/Norwegian/Danish newspapers will have a smaller readership than the UK (please stop me if I'm being patronizing...), it will be easier for them to 'control' which blogs are linked too - obviousy, they don't want to link to inappropriate or offensive blogs.

I think the links to blogs will work well in certain sections of the papers more than others - Travel, for instance, would be great as it could link to blogs that review the same hotels/holiday locations, etc. As for Business and Finance, it is perhaps not so useful due to legislation on what can and cannot be said and when.

Maybe this is an extension of comments being left on articles - the journalist writes an expert piece, comments continue the conversation, and then the conversation is expanded and multiplied as it moves onto the blogs.

It will be interesting to see it's success - however that would be measured - and which other publications take it up.

(and it's also too early for me to come up with a good metaphor!)

Honestly, it feels good to be linked to by a newspaper. It's just fun to be able to interact in that way - it feels like we're all media in some sense.

Ben: both New York Times and Washington Post use a similar service from a different provider to show blog links to their articles, but I'm not aware of any report on what their experiences with this are. But as you touch upon, I guess it is a way to show the conversations the newspapers' articles spurred. It's a bit like a trackback (when I send a trackback to a blog it's a way of saying "hey, I expand on this topic here," or "you might be interested in this").

Ashok: interesting point

I've been using Twingly since Dagbladet started linking to blogreactions through them, and it's been getting me quite a bit of traffic on a few occasions. Not many, if any, comments form new readers though, but that's really no surprise.

Hopefully a few of the fresh visitors will be coming back on a regular basis.

Disclaimer: I'm blogeditor at in Denmark - or rather .

Why Twingly / trackback-services:

1. well, we haven't got comments on our articles for many reasons - mostly boring technical reasons. Twingly is a way of adding comments on the articles. From my point of view a nescessary option .

2. We want to show our readers the way to - maybe - interesting further knowledge or discussion.

3. Of course, especially our sales execs hope for a increase in traffic. It's not that essential to me (hope they're not reading this ;-) ) - I personally think it'll give us more loyal readers more than a boost in traffic.

But not supprisingly one of our execs the day after we've launched asked for the number of linking blogs - "Had it increased ?" - well, patience I said (and still say).

To me it's another tiny step for newspapers and other traditional media to becoming more openminded and connected to the readers, the bloggers, podcasters etc.

Well, it will be interesting to see what your experiences will be. I'm kinda hoping that we'll soon get to know more about the experiences of newspapers who've been using services like Twingly for a year or more (like SVD, DN etc)...

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