Read and Respond – Week 4

First, some innovation news: Journalists are trying out Foursquare as a news tool. Metro, a Canadian paper, will begin integrating Foursquare with their content, allowing followers to receive mobile alerts when they’re in the vicinity of a story Metro has covered. Here’s the link to Metro’s own story on the team-up. Keep this in mind as you prepare to develop your own innovation projects.

Also, remember the video Austin showed us in class Tuesday? As if they read our minds, Apple’s making it happen. Check out this liveblog from the New York Times on the announcement. Then check out philly.com’s reasons for why it’s not as great for journalism as everyone’s saying.

(While you’re at it, take note of how a liveblog works – liveblogging tonight’s State of the Union could be a nifty post!)

For week 4, we’re going to be talking about links as the atomic unit of online communication. The hyperlink is an obvious use of linking, but social media applications employ linking in their own way. So let’s read about links:

  • David G. Post, in this 1997 essay (ancient history!!!), lays out some common questions and criticisms of the humble link that are still pertinent today.
  • Bill Thompson talks about links as the key component of “the semantic Web.” We may argue, as he puts it, “a link is just a link,” yet often there is more going on in the way the link is used.
  • Finally, here’s a business-oriented strategy guide to “link wheels” focused on getting your site into the thick of bigger sites’ linking process. What’s your impression of what the author describes?

What do you think about links? What is the nature of a link, and what are the ways in which we use them? Do you agree that the link is the fundamental unit of online communication? Finally, what kind of ethics and etiquette do you see as necessary for linking in journalistic and personal work?

Remember to respond to this post by noon on Monday, Feb. 1. As always, responses should be around 200 words, and links to arguments or evidence on your own blog or elsewhere are strongly recommended.

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18 Responses to Read and Respond – Week 4

  1. I’m pretty excited for the iPad myself. I have an iPod Touch and it use the wifi all the time. I’ve always thought that something slightly bigger than the iPod would be perfect for me, so seeing this after being introduced to it in class made my freaking week. I’ve already put myself on the mailing list for it, and while I’ve read about what missing features others are complaining about it’s got everything that I need.

    • aaaaaargh says:

      Maybe the J-school will buy us all one – you know, for our education. It’s pretty interesting to me that this comes out in the week that two people from our class showed (or tried to show) links about similar tech.

  2. “Metro teams up with Foursquare”

    I must admit, when I first heard about Foursquare, I was not impressed. To me, it was just the latest time-waster born of the internet; reminiscent of FML or Lolcats.

    (http://www.fmylife.com/)
    (http://icanhascheezburger.com/)

    But the more I read about it, the more I like it. I think Metro has figured out how to use this technology to the max. I was particularly intrigued when the article mentioned users checking into Foursquare at the location where they picked up their copy of Metro.

    Is that an advertiser’s dream come true or what? Now Metro has the knowledge of who’s reading their paper, and where exactly these readers are buying it. I imagine they will start tailoring their advertising to the locations where the most newspapers are sold.

    They can even get statistics on the demographics reading their paper (i.e.: college kids at a coffeehouse: businessmen on their way to work; newsstands; home delivery; etc.).

    “The i-pad”

    I have to agree with philly.com on this one. People want two kinds of technology: big computers with lots of RAM to save your work on; and little handhelds to sneakily check your Facebook at work or in class. No one wants to haul around some strange “medium sized” hybrid.

    (However, the next time someone asks me to describe myself in one word, I think the term “journogeek” will definitely pop up.)

    “Live Blogging”

    Sounds cool to me. I think if the “traditional media” wants to keep from taking a swan dive, this will have to be the new format for press conferences and news events. Gone are the days when you could take notes, go home, write your story, and publish it in the next morning’s paper.

    “Hyperlinks”

    I suppose I sit right on the fence-line when it comes to the “ethics” of hyperlinking.

    On one hand, it can be a great way to give someone credit for their work, like an e-bibliography. If you cite someone in a paper, why not cite them in an online piece? You are still using their ideas, and under plagiarism laws, you must give credit where it is due.

    And people can’t sue you for citing them in an academic paper — so why should they be able to sue you for citing them via hyperlink? When we read a paper accompanied by a bibliography, we don’t assume the authors of the works cited necessarily gave their approval — why should we assume this on the web?

    On the other hand, I recall a debate my class had in Media Ethics a few semesters ago: When is it appropriate to link to something?

    The case we studied was an article from Wired.com, in which someone reviewed “the most politically incorrect game ever made” called “Ethnic Cleansing.”

    (http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/02/50523)

    The article in no way supported the game. If anything, its author showed her disgust at the very idea of a “white power” video game.

    The controversy arose when we discovered she had linked to the game’s official website, thus “promoting” it in a round-about way.

    Some argued that it was merely for the convenience of the reader; that, after reading the article, the reader’s curiosity would be piqued, and they would want to see if something like that really existed (And if the site hadn’t linked to the game, readers would just look it up for themselves.)

    Others (including myself) disagreed with the link. If you were reading about this game in a paper copy of the Washington Post, they wouldn’t send you a copy of the game “just so you could see it.”

    If readers wanted to look it up for themselves, then fine. But linking to it increased traffic to the game’s site, and basically served as free advertising.

    • blackedoutblog says:

      That’s interesting.

      I never thought of links as promotions before.

      I guess they could be viewed as that. The wired.com author could have just mentioned the game and left it to the reader to find it for themselves.

  3. ecmoore19 says:

    In the 90’s when I was first discovering the Internet, I got a Christmas gift that would change my online experience. It was a book called “300 Incredible Things to do on the Internet.”

    In a way, I was linking to all of the “incredible” experiences to have on the Internet in 1999 through a book instead of a hyperlink. Since then, the author has published newer editions online but initially sold 3 million book copies. (http://theincredibleinternet.blogspot.com/)

    People were looking for an easier way to find what they were looking for. I would argue that people who were new to the Internet (like my family) were probably more trusting in a book than random links at that time because of a lack of familiarity.

    Since then, links have become the dominant way to travel across the web and people have embraced them. Without links, the average computer user would only be privy to small corners of the Internet they were already familiar with.

    It would be like living in a city where there are no roads in or out. The travel of information would be stunted to say the least. That being said, I do believe that since the point of the Internet is the free flow of information, links are the fundamental route in which we do so.

  4. I think links are one of the most important parts of what makes online communication work. People are able to use these links to view more content. I think links also help create a lot of revenue on websites. Companies can work together and pay for another company to link to their site. Advertisers pay to put links and ads on websites as well.

    Like one of the articles talked about, copyright laws become an issue at times when people put links on their site without that other sites permission. I guess that part has to do with advertisers paying for their ads to be seen and if a link is put up a certain way, those clicking the link would miss the ad. Still, I would think that people would want their site to be linked, regardless of that. It would mean more overall traffic for your website and maybe those people will start coming directly there.

    I think in the journalistic world, it’s fine to put links to where you got your information to give your story more credibility. I think this is especially important if someone else breaks a story and you post it on your site after seeing their story; the other person needs credit for breaking the story first.

  5. Kander says:

    I would hate to sound like a negative Nancy but I do not see the point of a newspaper joining up with foursquare. To me it seems like more of a publicity stunt than something that would be useful.

    I know that if I were following that newspaper and I received little notifications every time I was near something that was in their paper I would become very annoyed, very quickly.

    It would be useful if you could receive up to the minute hard news from where you were but getting reviews of restaurants near by as tips, to me, would just become irritating.

    Another thing I am not getting caught up in is the Ipad. It is another thing that just seems over hyped up. Where is the need for a pad like that? I love my iphone but if it is anywhere near as fragile as the iphone then it is more trouble than it’s worth.

    I can see the use of the coffee table we were shown last week but the ipad doesn’t have the same cordless feature selling point. It really does seem like a larger version of the iPhone with less features and less convenient.

    • Kander says:

      — I know this is off topic but I just noticed the time stamps are off. I’m sure this isn’t a big deal but it is 9:05 Sunday evening not 2:03 Monday morning.

  6. I think links and linking are extremely important to the Internet. As Garrett was saying, it opens up the Internet beyond what you just intended to look at. I feel that the addition of links has become an essential part of how we send and receive information. I do think that we can sometimes get clutter in links, so it’s important to link what is necessary to the topic of conversation. When it comes to linking in the workplace, it’s important to make sure the website being linked it both factual and appropriate. Even when linking at work for leisure or receiving links it’s a good idea to make sure that what’s been viewed has nothing on it that you wouldn’t want your employer to see.

    I found this an article that talks about co-workers opening up emails or links not knowing that they would be inappropriate for work. The suggested solution is correctly labeling the link as NSFW (not safe for work) or using the nsfw.us domain to change the url of the link so that it reads NSFW in the link itself. If someone chooses to click on the link, they get a warning screen before the link’s contents actually show.

    This link is: http://www.timeatlas.com/web_sites/general/alerting_people_to_inappropriate_content_at_work

    and to change a url to NSFW: http://www.nsfw.us/

  7. IPad-

    I’m just going to lay it out there…I think it’s dumb. I mean I couldn’t live without my Iphone, but again when I heard about this I thought it was going to amaze me to the point that I would have to go buy it at this moment, but the question that keeps popping in my head is why would I need an oversized Itouch? I don’t, when I have all that technology in the palm of my hand, plus the use of a cell phone. I reminds me of one of those extremly oversized remotes or calculators or even the JitterBug(the huge cell phone for the elderly.

    I guess Apple couldn’t make the Ipods any smaller so they decided to start making things bigger.

    Foursquare-

    From the topics of a lot of blogs I’ve been reading this week Foursquare is EVERYWHERE. Not only for personal use, but in the entertainment world too. Foursquare will be teaming up with the TV station BRAVO (http://mashable.com/2010/01/31/bravo-foursquare-snags-a-tv-partnership/) You can now recieve badges and prizes for checking-in at BRAVO tagged locations.

  8. foursquare:

    when i first heard about foursquare i though it was cool, but totally pointless. However after learning that companies, bars, restaurants are getting in on it and offering deals, i can see the appeal. But what is Morgantown or even Pittsburgh doing, well nothing that i can tell, so until the perks start cropping up in my area… i think ill stay away from potential stalkers .

    IPAD:

    Oh the IPad… i think i have already had my fill on Ipad talk, its everywhere, it was even on the Grammys for Gods sake! And what does it even do… not much from what i can gather, i would certainly be willing to play with it for a little bit, give it a test run, but you wont see me shelling out 500 big ones next week!

    Links and the Law:

    i found these articles quite interesting, And although they were talking about the legal and moral aspects of linking it actually got me thinking more along the lines of privacy issues.

    But first of all let me just say that i most defiantly agree with Tim Berners-Lee mentioned in “i link, therefore i am” when he said a link is just a link. i don’t see how someone can get pounded with a lawsuit for making other people thoughts/research/information available.

    this is what brings me to privacy issues. What worries me with all the Hype going on with legal battles concerning linking is where the internet will go from here. I can see a couple years down the road an internet database that scans EVERYONE’S computer for “copyight” or “linkright” (or whatever they decide to call it), looking for unauthorized linking among blogs,web-sites etc.

    So even if one chooses to only have friends see certain messages, posts, or pictures there will always be SOMEONE behind the scenes scanning your information without you knowing.
    I guess i could just be paranoid but Hey it could happen.

    live blogging:

    i definitely see a future of this… its kind of like a telephone conference only a much larger scale and over the internet… a place where everyone can put in their two cents but ( key word) immediately … and with the fast pace.. immediate world we live in… couldn’t think of anything more appropriate.

    Linkbuilding:

    ok i can see the appeal for such a thing as link building,(promoting your site) however i cant help but to feel i am being hoodwinked when directed to a site because of it.

    these sites are set up to take you to certain networks, pages, ect. they are not doing what i probably want am an expecting them to do… such as , search the best possible information out there. Instead, i’m being linked back to the same sources, or at least similar ones. It eliminates variety.

  9. I have to say, I think linking is what makes the internet and websites go and grow. I know for a fact, whenever a link to the website I work for is posted on a message board there are a lot more views. When something like that happens more people notice the website and statistics show that more people continue to come to a site when you post content people are interested in.

    In order for this too work, there needs to be central place where all of this information to be found. For example, all of the Mountaineer fans that go on the internet know that BlueandGold News has a message board where you can post conversations about specific players and the team in general. This would be considered the central hub of information.

    When people begin to post information on these sites, including links, it lets people know what is going on and sends them to another place. I know there are some sites like that that don’t allow links like movies or TV shows because it is illegal, but most of these message boards for sports teams don’t go anywhere near that. If there are videos and stuff like that posted, it’s most likely going to be from youtube. Overall, I think places like message boards will become more and more useful in the future because a site like this only works if people post topics and respond to them, if they don’t then there is no site.

  10. blackedoutblog says:

    IPAD:

    I agree with the author in saying that there is just no demand for the iPad.

    The iPad can do everything the iPhone can do, but be able sell by the thousands.

    I don’t believe the iPad will offer anything new to journalism that a computer can’t.

    This is why I believe news makers should develop applications for new cell phones like iPhone, Blackberry Storm and the Droid.

    Reading news via cell phone should be the new wave of the future not introducing clunkier devices. People want mobility with their news and they can’t get it with a giant pad.

    LIVE BLOGGING:

    This is a trend that has been furthered by things like Foursquare and Twitter.

    Although I don’t see Foursquare becoming a big tool in journalism.

    Only a percentage of the population use the Internet.
    To accurately represent the entirety of them, news makers will have to go out an meet real people not just the ones with Foursquare accounts.

    People want their news faster than it takes for old media to write it, edit it and publish it.

    Live blogging allows for breaking news and developing stories better than anything print could offer.

    LINKS:

    Making a link is the first thing you learn when you are taught basic HTML.

    This is because the Internet depends on links to organize and connect the millions of Web sites.

    Links are like doorways in a long winding hallway. Without the opening the doors, you remain in the hallway. Once opened, the doors lead to other hallways with even more doorways.

    Links in journalism are important because they can jump to another page for the reader to gain more information.

    In a newspaper, 3 or 4 grafs are dedicated to background information.

    When reading a news story online, the reader can click a link to read any background info if they choose to. This helps organize the story to make sure the important things are on top.

    In turn, this allows for news stories to be shorter and more to the point than a newspaper.

    I agree with the statement that the link is the fundamental unit of online communication.

    If I could imagine an Internet without links, it would be millions of places that no one could go to. We could only go to our own sites and never be able to visit another.

    Links open the door for communication on the Web because they connect us to other places either pertaining or contrasting to what we are reading.

    There is ethics when it comes to linking, however. I believe as long as you notify the reader that they will be navigating away from the page it is not plagiarism.

    The moment the reader thinks they are clicking a link to another area of your site, then that is wrong. Readers should be informed they are going to a new place, written by someone else and with new ideas.

    When it comes to ethics of linking in journalism, the same rules apply. A writer should never attempt to take credit for a link (they should inform the reader where exactly they will be taken to if they choose to click it).

    Basic Internet etiquette states that links should be treated like citations. Any new information presented should have it’s source linked somewhere in the article or Web site.

    This is why a lot of blogs have a SOURCE link at the bottom of every post.

  11. grcarey says:

    Links are a great way to connect ideas as long as they’re used appropriately. Too many links can take away from the ideas presented in a story or blog post and read like an advertisement instead.

    For me personally, links are the fundamental unit of online communication, because that’s what I was first introduced to. When I’m on one site and see links to others, more often that not, I’m going to click those links to at least see what that site has to offer. Links are powerful because they are almost like indirect advertisements in that they suck you into checking something out you may otherwise not.

    When referencing ideas from another site or paraphrasing, links should be provided. They can also be provided to help readers get a better understanding of some topics. It is then up to the reader to decide whether or not they believe checking out links are warranted or not, but when utilizing somebody else’s work, links are a must.

    Having recently learned how to link on our wordpress blogs, it is a powerful and creative tool that helps create more ideas.

  12. grcarey says:

    In terms of live blogging, that was a very interesting read. It is interesting to see how live blogging can change based on topics. Having done numerous live blogs at men’s soccer, football and men’s basketball games at the DA, I believe live blogs are a great way to keep fans updated who may otherwise not be able to watch or listen to games. Preparing before you go may not be as big of a deal in terms of live blogging before sports, but staying on your toes throughout the game is crucial. You never know when your next post is coming, so you have to be aware at all times! Live blogging is much different from traditional journalism, but it’s a great way to connect with readers nonetheless.

  13. kenziekat says:

    I apologize, as I should have commented last week. Somehow I have managed to FORGET that we needed to read and respond…I got too caught up in my cat blogging world, and forgot the class consisted of more intelligent blogging worlds as well.

    Regardless, I will respond now and hope I do not fail blogging completely.

    Links have been my connection to the cat world, as I said in class, in a huge way. Linking to other cat blogs has both increased my hits and allowed me to meet, via web, other bloggers with similar interest and get ideas for future blogs from them.

    On the other hand, I do believe linking can get quite excessive, and it is NOT necessary to link every other word in every post. It drives me absolutely crazy to click on a link and go to some random page that gives me no information.

    In terms of the famous Ipad…..I’m not convinced yet, but I look forward to future improvements and similar technology. I haven’t been convinced of the Iphone yet either, and I think I may have been the last person alive to get an Ipod…so Apple may have a hard one to convince in me.

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