Posted by: Frank | March 16, 2014

Linking != Sharing

I had a flash back to 2000 this morning, back to a time when the web was only web sites and social networks did not exist. Back to before Google, and when blogging began.

Today blogging seems to be simply equated to writing, which is why some people believe that there are classes of bloggers, professionals and non-professionals, just as there has always been classes of writers.

If you stop at the writing you really don’t understand what blogging is about. What one writes is part of it, why one writes is another big part of it, and how one writes is the other big part. In my opinion, what makes blogging blogging is the linking.

The previous two paragraphs are nothing more the words. Words that can be on any medium, be it paper, which has been the medium of writers for centuries, or on pixels. Words on pixels is the same writing as words on print, which is where the confusion between writing and blogging, professionals and bloggers come about.

Links do not work on paper. Links done well is what separates a blogger from a writer, be they professional or not. Links bring light to someone else’s opinions, shine light on the details, and add context to what is being written.

Linking is not sharing! It’s easy to confuse the two in this social networked web world that now exists, and I think this confusion has caused people to look at Facebook and at blogging and think they are the same.

When I share a news article with my friends on Facebook, it comes with an implicit understanding that I think the article may be interesting to people with whom I am sharing it with. Often, I don’t write anything, I simply share the link and let the software pull in the title and excerpt to provide the explanation. Some people don’t even read the article they are sharing, they quickly share based on nothing more than a picture or a title.

When I link to another article within a blog post, the content of the post provides context. What I write explains why I linked to the article in the first place. Usually the link is so embedded within what I am write that the reader doesn’t have to click the link to completely read what I have written. If I’ve done it correctly, the reader is motivated to click the link to get deeper into that point that is being made.

Links, which separate blogging from writing, do not make a social network, but instead form a knowledge network. A link sends the reader deeper into a topic from which they learn from multiple minds. Social networks have their place, they keep us in touch with people and they can be fun, and blogging has its place connecting together and adding context to the world’s knowledge.

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