Thursday, May 04, 2006

Ahh, it's linked to Attention ©

Some follow-on discussion about the linking question by Justin Peterson who makes a very good point in that while I want the viewpoint of the writer on a given subject, it's likely not the only view I want. Moreover, I prefer to own my own judgements on things. So linking me to supporting material is valuable to me (maybe not to the blogger) but to me.

Seth Goldstein writes:

Strong web bloggers no longer link.

Somebody better tell Seth Godin, Dave Winer, Doc Searls, Robert Scoble, Steve Rubel, Mike Arrington and many others about this so that they can catch up.

Seth also writes:

They recognize their power to shape thought and would rather take the risk of losing attention than the certainty of letting it flow onto others.

So that's it... It's attention driving all this. Reputation, attention, influence, all of them are built and earned - much like respect. The question is whether or not linking makes earning those things easier or more difficult. To be honest I really don't want you to shape my thoughts. I'd rather you provide me the material to shape my own. The quality of the material you provide and the way you provide it will define your reputation in my mind and hence will define the attention you will get from me. Remember, attention is something that you get from me, but you don't get it for nothing, you have to earn it. In my mind, linking helps you earn it, not linking doesn't.

There is something about the interconnectedness of blogging and the web in general that makes information silos seem unnatural. You're feeding off the web for information but not necessarily feeding back into it. You are utilizing only a portion of the power of the medium by not linking in order to forward your own goal (being a thought shaper I guess..), which is fine - to each his own. I guess the gist of it is that information silos are a bad thing, unless the silo is me. Bah.

[Follow up: I should have (and forgot to) pointed to the post about the Gillmor Gang podcast that started all this.]