Read & Respond week 4: Links and Crowds

This week, we’ll be talking about connections: The in-person links that create crowds and the digital ones that create, well, the Internet. Briggs talks specifically about “crowdsourcing;” the term “the wisdom of crowds” was popularized by James Surowiecki, but it’s been around for a while. Some take issue with the idea that crowds actually have any particular wisdom; a crowd, after all is just a thrown rock away from a mob. Here’s a little tune on the subject from Nova:

Moving on to links and linking, consider some ideas from these posts:

Since there’s no class on Monday for the Labor Day holiday, you have until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, January 29 to make your responses to this post. Keep it concise, relevant, and don’t forget to integrate Briggs!

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15 Responses to Read & Respond week 4: Links and Crowds

  1. As Briggs says in the book, “The best journalists are embracing technology and a more open approach to gathering and presenting information. They’re discovering that the power of the people can help them jump-start the process of finding sources, experts and new angles, and it also provides instant-and constant-feedback”.

    I could not agree more with this statement, especially the way technology has been improving in our generation. Because of the improvement of technology, almost everyone has access to a phone or computer to be able to receive and look at news at the touch of a button (or even asking Siri to show you). Crowdsourcing has became beneficial when it comes to certain things because after all, crowdsourcing “usually relates to reporting a specific project or answering a specific question. News organizations have used crowdsourcing to find instances of voting problems, to follow local distribution of disaster payments from the federal government and to map potholes on city streets” (Briggs, 93) when it comes to journalism. But, this information is open to the public to give them the information they need. Having access to the internet gives the media outlets more to report about, and what is ever wrong with knowing “more”? Today, every news story that is on the news is also online as well. In fact, there may even be more online stories because they are so quick and easy to type up. And just like the book said about feedback, people all over the nation can comment on these articles and talk about their experiences, opinions, resources, and even thoughts. Links just make it easier to have access to the information and makes it easier to navigate to the source.

    I thought Tim Berners-Lee ‘s explanation on links is quite humorous especially when he talks about the fax machine basically being some sort of mysterious thing. Going into his article, I always thought BitTorrent was bad for your computer because it is illegal and can give your computer viruses. I especially did not expect to read about Pirate Bay. Pirate Bay is what my boyfriend uses to download movies and even PDF files such as eBooks. I am not a computer wizard or do not know anything about that stuff, but it was interesting to read more about torrents and what exactly makes it legal and illegal.

  2. After reading both the links provided and Briggs, it seems that there is a lot of debate on whether linking is infringing on company’s rights and if it is somehow laced with hidden intention. The Temple.edu article writes about current lawsuits between companies. For example, Microsoft and Ticketmaster are mentioned to be in a lawsuit due to Microsoft’s company, Seattle.sidewalk.com, linking to Ticketmaster, in hopes of giving readers the opportunity to purchase tickets to local events. Ticketmaster argues that Microsoft is taking advertisement revenue when linking to their site. It is hard to say really if that was their true intention, but if I had to guess, the answer is probably no. Briggs mentions to use links in blogs and microblogs to attribute to other authors with similar material or material that you drew inspiration from. It is a way of saying “thanks and I appreciate your work.” It also gives them credit where it is due and helps to back your claims. Briggs doesn’t mention any hidden intentions that linking may have, so it’s strange that these companies feel attacked and according to Temple.edu it is possible for sites to use coding so that the correct businesses ads are shown when clicking a link. It is a simple task. I like how Bill Thomson says, “A link is just a link!” This is exactly how I feel. It should represent anything more than accreditation or an avenue for readers to take to gather even more in depth information on a topic.

  3. Rebecca Toro says:

    Microblogging is the new thing. Based on Brigg’s Chapter 2, it is recommended that every college journalist should have a Twitter and a blog. That way journalists can connect to its readers and other fellow journalists. A community is developed. You have to connect with people in order for people to want to read your blog. No readers it is just another blog with forgotten words. Twitter is huge for microblogging. I have a Twitter but I use it for personal use to express my opinion. Maybe now I’ll create one just for Professional connections. Right now #muslimban is trending on Twitter. I get more news coverage from Twitter than television and articles due to the quickness of a post. You want to market your brand and raise your analytics in order to get readers and expand your brand. Blogrolls and links to other websites are a way to advertise. A reader can get a feel for your style based on your connections to other blogs and websites.

  4. lindseybaatz says:

    Briggs talks about the synergy of technology, and human connections. Technology has opened our world to an abundance of information, and we as journalists must use this to our advantage. The line of communication has opened, and networking has never been so accessible. Briggs believe linking is a great way to support your blog. It also gives direct credit to the original source.

    Bill Thompson discussed how new technologies that connect us, can have their limits. This new way of connecting is being taken advantage of, and many copyrighted material is being illegally shared.

    Hyperlinking has come a long way since the 1997 article. I find it hard to believe that the lawsuits from 1997 would turn into lawsuits today. Large corporations are more likely to create their own content, rather than link to other sites. These large corporations would not want their online traffic to be redirected to another website. However, sites that do link to other sites, I can see where there would be discrepancies when it comes to ad revenue.

  5. mglamastro says:

    As with most technology, there are pros and cons to links, both in person and on the Internet. A major pro, mentioned in the class text (Briggs), is crowdsourcing. Thanks to Internet links, crowdsourcing allows journalists and bloggers to find sources more quickly and more easily (and from the comfort of their own homes/offices) than traditional sourcing (e.g., going door to door, talking to people in public parks or on the streets, etc.). Crowdsourcing is particularly helpful when a journalist or blogger is seeking information on an obscure topic and/or a topic with a so-called cult following. From personal experience, crowdsourcing via the Internet allowed me to connect with fashion industry professionals and gurus. I do not have many friends or colleagues who are super interested in fashion, so being able to form and maintain these relationships has really helped me–especially because these people are literally at my finger tips at all times!

    Another important upside to web linking is that it allows journalists and bloggers to curate posts. Gathering information from fellow mass media professionals and reliable sources (such as pundits) allows us to add their knowledge and insight to our own posts (with proper attribution, of course), making our posts more well-rounded and substantial. This is something I practice a lot in journalism and blogging, and I would not be able to do so without the Internet and linking.

    I definitely agree with David G. Post’s “The Link to Liability” piece. Advertising via linking (and the web in general) may seem like a good idea in theory, but in practice it can be super complicated, especially as web-based platforms expand. This is particularly relevant when it comes to blogs and social media. Many bloggers and social media influencers, particularly those on Instagram, are criticized by traditional advertisers and even lawyers for violating FTC guidelines when it comes to creating sponsored content. For example, a blogger or influencer may intentionally fail to disclose that a brand/company paid or gifted her in exchange for a blog or social media post (or both!) because they want to come of as more authentic/less commercial to their followers. This is especially rampant in the fashion and beauty industry/blogosphere.

    Lastly, I had a difficult time understanding the BBC article– a lot of the information went over my head. However, the section on copyright/intellectual property theft really piqued my interest. With the Internet and blogging being so popular, many users do not realize that using creative works (including written pieces and images) without proper citation or even permission is a violation of intellectual property, and in many cases illegal/punishable by law.

  6. miaswanegan says:

    Briggs brings up the fact that social media platforms have changed the way that journalist connect with an audience and have brought new options and opportunities to a journalist toolbox.

    With the ability to share pretty much anything over text or email these days, it just makes life easier for all of is. The “I link, therefore I am” post brings up how much of a hassle faxing use to be back in the day whereas to now we can, for the most part, just attach a link in an email or share something via social media with a permalink. Everything these days is so fast and easy and with growth comes change, which is constantly happening. Not everyone will always be able to keep up with it but those who do are the ones who take advantage. There are lots of pros with doing so but there are also cons, like the ones brought up in “The Link to Liability” when some things can just be shared at the wrong time in the wrong context. Since there is not much control over where/ when things can and are shared does it make it a liability?

  7. Links are a great tool for journalists and bloggers, as it allows us to find vital information for our content from a different source. They allow us to explore deeper and deeper into our topic with less effort than before.

    Using links in our blogs gives us credibility. As Brigg’s said, blogging fits into the Journalism platform. Micro-blogging also allows journalists to get and receive minute by minute news coverage. It also gives us an opportunity to place links into the 140 character, concise version of the story to more information on your blog/website.

    However, as the BBC article noted links can lead to copyright infringement and other legal problems. A “philosophy of links” could be used in controlling the ethical and legal issues that may arise due to the placement of links.

  8. Haley says:

    I had heard of crowdsourcing before Briggs, but only when it comes to microfinance crowdfunding like a GoFundMe. Crowdsourcing can have great benefits to internet users looking to find and create online movements and communities. The text also mentioned ever changing social media. Social media completely paves new channels for journalists all over. Now we have the ability to immerse in the online community and start conversations just by posting. In order to get noticed in a sea of millions of users, it’s important to know what to link to your own blog and the laws behind it.

    David G Post’s regarding the “humble link” made me think because I am very interested in upcoming laws regarding social media and online mediums. I think it is important to note that websites generate much of their revenue from advertisements, but when looking at hyperlinks and link clicks as a means of engagement, I would argue that it is more important to get the big audience number than worry about stolen advertising. From another things, I totally see where he said hyperlinks are not “new,” but rather something similar to a footnote.

    With the internet and it’s communities constantly changing it is important to identify the audience and the averages of the audiences in order to get the best random sample. Although the video made me laugh a bit, I thought it was very informative to how we are today the way we are.

  9. After reading the above articles and Briggs, I am pretty confused by how linking used to be seen as such a controversy. As David Post said in the temple.edu article, “why would CNN, or Time, or Ticketmaster, object to a link to their pages? Isn’t the whole point of having a web page to attract users? These hyperlinks are like referrals.” Although written in 1997, that is the logic we have today! Why would CNN want to sue people for hyperlinking to their articles? Temple.edu brought up the issue of unpaid advertising and how people were wanting to be recognized for their links but as Briggs says, all we are doing is giving a thanks to the sources that helped us form our blog posts. Even Bill Thompson from the BBC article said in 2009 that he believes there should be a “philosophy of linkage” to set the guidelines. By this point, I think the industry has somehow gotten to an unspoken conclusion regarding this issue. Maybe it is because blogging is so common nowadays. Briggs said, “blogs have forever changed the way that information is shared in our society.” Briggs encourages blogs for all students of Journalism. He explains that its important to learn, plan, choose, customize and ultimately gain a following in order to make a success of your blog. He also makes it a point to never stop trying to improve your blog. I am starting to see a trend with his chapters where he keeps enforcing how important it is to continue learning.

  10. Clutter Mama says:

    The argument over links, like many things, boils down to advertising dollars. Companies want to ensure that they are maximizing their profits and not allowing others to infringe on that through linking. In my opinion, ethics plays a role in utilizing links to grow your presence, but not by not by detracting from others.
    Links are necessary to make the web the interconnected giant that it is. This is how ideas are shared and built upon. For instance, in our blogs, we’re required to incorporate links in order to relate our posts to timely content. These links, if used wisely, can make a significant impact on our social networking.
    Briggs points out the importance using links by having a blogroll. This allows you to work on becoming part of the community and, in turn, growing the community. He also suggests having an RSS feed of the stream of news you wish to receive on a regular basis. These are just links to news outlets, blogs, and Google searches.
    More and more the way we interconnect with each other is displayed on the Web through links. Whether it is blog rolls, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat, networking occurs through links.
    Bill Thompson points out that some type of guidelines of what is acceptable might help before lawyers get involved and “…limit the creative potential of the web through their lack of imagination and understanding.” I agree.

    Jackie Thompson

  11. Laura Andrea says:

    Links are so commonplace nowadays that we can easily forget that there was a time before them. They’re so necessary now that I don’t even take much stock in articles or news that don’t link to other sources. It’s much like Briggs says, many people contributing to a story will likely make it better. Blogs started to make that possible and links are a natural evolution of it. As discussed in the BBC article, there are many forms that linking takes, but the peer-to-peer sharing of BitTorrent is akin to borrowing a book from the library or a friend. Links are perhaps the easiest way to give credit to the creator of a work that you’re referencing or incorporating in your own. It also reinforces the idea of the song that the more people contribute the more likely we are to land on the mark.

  12. ashleyconleyyy says:

    I thought the Youtube video posted on the class blog was a bit odd, but what I gathered from it was that links are an Internet necessity today. Now, instead of just getting information from a single source, links allow us to get all kinds of information from a variety of sources just by clicking onto one site and following the links.

    David G. Post’s article was interesting because he focused on the advertising side of links. It is kind of weird that we would want to link viewers to other places, but in today’s Internet world, it’s something necessary. For us future journalists, I think it’s more than just advertising, as Post says. I think it’s a way to help our readers and viewers get the most information, the most facts and the most accurate platform to create well-rounded thoughts.

    This leads me to crowdsourcing. Briggs said it best when he referred to his mother’s old saying, “many hands create light work”. This is just more proof that linking is important for journalists and anyone on the web attempting to spread information. Gathering all these sources together makes it easy for those folks crowded on the web to find what they’re looking for.

  13. Steven Devine says:

    I think it is very interesting to read the Link to Liability page. Especially towards the end of the article where it says by the time the courts get around to it, the technology will already have advanced. I find this so fascinating because in 1997 Im sure no one could have imagined what the internet would turn out to be today. Today, every website seems to do exactly what was the problem in this post. Ticketmaster was against the seattlesidewalk.com website, but today seemingly everyone gets tickets through a third party site, which ultimately directs you back to ticketmaster anyway.

    Relating to the Briggs article it brings up the notion of crowdsourcing. Crowdsourcing is important and especially helpful if you are a member of a community. It can be extremely helpful in blogging, and has become a major tool for businesses and writers in the digital age. Instead of outsourcing or spending the time doing research themselves, they can crowdsource in their following and come up with a “free labor” alternative.

    Also from the Briggs article, it is important to use links to accredit someone where you may have gotten information or inspiration from. Especially when writing blogs and our blogs, we are members of the community but in no means are we experts so adding links is an easy way to point our readers in the direction of where we obtained this knowledge and insight in which to write on from. Going back to the Link to Liability page it makes you think about how far things have come since then with links.

  14. I was familiar with crowdsourcing before reading Briggs, and I agree with Misty Montano’s comment about reading comments on articles, Twitter and Facebook, especially the bit about listening to see when the audience is tired of hearing about a story. Last semester in the experimental journalism class, we would look at the comments on articles about poverty in southern West Virginia to see the residents’ take on coal country and food deserts. Though news organizations could find a couple people to talk to in McDowell County, the majority of people in the county were tired or reading about themselves in the news. This knowledge lead us to a new story angle, and made us aware of what topics were sensitive and needed to be avoided in interviews.

    Linking is an important aspect of crowdsourcing. If you’re using crowdsourced information, you should link to your source. I also liked a classmate’s comment comparing peer-to-peer sharing on BitTorrent to library books. I remember following the Pirate Bay case, and I have a feeling that the fact that the site frequently changes domains (it was previously .se, now it’s .org, and has changed multiple times in the pas) has something to do with the lawsuit. You can say what you want about people illegally sharing copyrighted materials, but when it gets down to what the site does, I agree with the BBC article–a link is just a link.

  15. dshedrick says:

    As Briggs states in Chapter 2, new blogs tend to be aimed at very targeted, niched audiences – and this is the norm for the Internet as a whole in this day and age. Most users are very specialized in exactly what they want from their online experience; they only follow certain news sites, only share certain posts, and so on. Providers of content on the Internet know better than to target everyone, and instead they focus their sites to very specific groups in a way that is efficient in gaining a supportive viewing base. The consensus of the readings this week is simply that the Internet is made up of innumerable little pieces that are “linked” together to create a cohesive, customizable experience. This is true whether these pieces are unique blogs, websites, or even pieces of large files that float around in cyberspace. Each of these things have the ability to be married into a single, useful medium.
    This is a big part of what we do as bloggers – for instance, it’s part of our grade to include a certain number of links to other sites, demonstrating the “big picture” idea of the Internet and the diversity (yet singularity) of the reader’s experience. Even though our blogs are about a single, central theme, and obviously we want our readers to “get” a certain idea from each post, we link to other content scattered about the Internet in order to educate and validate our claims. This practice also demonstrates the true Web idea of the internet – each specialized page can be somehow linked together to tell a single story.

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