November 28, 2012

Why Linkiness Is A Blogger's Form Of Truthiness

I've always loved Steven Colbert's concept of Truthiness.  Believing in something "because it feels right" to believe in it.  It's neatly installed into the gut of your sales target, making it easy to win your point.  Seen a lot of it lately from politics to business.  Doesn't always mean it's right and when it's wrong, it leads to big mistakes.  

For the blogging world, this no lose sales-job takes on another form: Linkiness.  Sometime a few years ago, bloggers realized they could "prove" any of their assertions with a neato hyperlink to another blog post, a study and report, etc.  It caught on, and these days, you'll see dozens of hyperlinks in an average post, all signifying, "I'm not making this stuff up, it's true and I have corroboration!" The blue links are all over it like a case of info-measles. 

Here's the problem: Readers aren't getting the message, due to all the distracting Squirrel!Links they can't help but click on.  Some spawn pop up windows or tabs and others take you to a different site.  You get lost in the rabbit hole of links and never quite finish the original blog post in the first place.  You even forget which blog or blogger got you started on this fantastic voyage.

Often, what you link to is merely someone else's assertion, supported by their Linkiness, which presents more distractions and wastes more time.  Linkiness is keeping mindless web surfing alive. But here's the problem: As a blogger, no one is understanding or finishing your work.  In many cases, your posts require a real investment of time, leading the subscriber to 'put off' reading it until later. 

That's why I think Seth Godin's blog is so successful.  He makes links count, and usually focuses on the narrative, not the documentation of his premise.  That's why reading books leads to deeper understanding of a topic and a more immersive reading experience.  You are curled up with a single author's voice, learning and exploring with him. 

This is why I'm not going to be too Linky in the future, instead, I'll have reference URLs at the end of the post if I think they're required to have context or read more.  Same goes for eBooks I write or advise on: Don't link because you can, save it for the footnotes, so the super-sleuths can dig in for details later.  The result, I'm hoping, is a more effective approach to short article writing...AKA, blogging. 

Posted at 11:37 AM in Blogging and Blogtalk  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)  |  TrackBack (0)



Mikä hauska, valoisa ja pirteä blogi


Köszönöm, hogy írásban ezt. Tényleg úgy érzem, mintha tudok sokkal többet erről, mint én tettem korábban. A blog valóban hozott néhány dolog, kiderült, hogy soha nem gondolta volna, erről, mielőtt olvasni. Folytatnia kell ezt, Im meg róla, a legtöbb ember egyetértene youve kapott egy ajándék.


Ez a helyes weblog bárki számára, akinek szüksége van, hogy keressen meg ki erről a témáról.


Hola Estoy tan emocionada que encontré su página de blog


Hey there! Estoy en el trabajo navegando alrededor de su blog desde mi nuevo iPhone! Sólo quería decir que me encanta leer tu blog y esperamos que todos tus mensajes! Sigan con el excelente trabajo!


Hmmm. Very interesting points Tim...but I disagree...I'm ok with the linking (like Mitch Joel does) because I've learned to control the "rabbit hole" thing...
I don't enjoy reading long content so I skim through the entire post before choosing to leave that post.....then, I go back, click the link, skim that post or just quickly "follow" the author and look them up another day and read at my leisure...I've learned to not waste time in reading something that doesn't get to my topics of interest...
Yes, Mitch adds a lot of "blue" links but I click on very few...
I find that when you get to know the author you get a feel for their links and overall this saves me time by getting me to the content (or new person) that I really enjoy/want to read...
If the links are place within the content I can tell if they're relevant to my real interests..If they're placed at the end, I don't feel any connection to the thought or topic...
Make sense?


I wish I had written a similar post so you could have linked to it Tim :)


I agree 100% with your point. I would even take it a step further and encourage folks not to include multiple links to their own previous posts. Yesterday I started reading an interesting post, and two paragraphs into it I had three of his previous posts open in separate windows to read after I finished the original piece. Long story short, I had other pressing things to get to and I ended up closing all of the windows and shutting down my computer without finishing the original post. And as I sit here right now, for the life of me I can't remember what the original post was about.

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