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.