Read & Respond week 4: Links and Crowds

This week, we’ll be talking about connections, both the in-person links that create crowds and the digital ones that create, well, the Internet. Briggs talks specifically about “crowdsourcing” – what do you understand that term to mean? 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:

You will need to post your response as a comment to this post no later than 11:59 p.m. Monday, Jan. 28. Keep it concise and relevant, and provide some useful examples!

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

  1. Cody Nespor says:

    I think I believe in crowd wisdom. Realistically it is kind of just like asking a lot of people individually the same question. As you went from person to person the answer that most people say would be most likely to be right. Crowdsourcing is just like asking those same people the question all at once, except now the crowd member can, potentially, interact with one another and I would assume that those interactions could lead to even better answers and information. The readwrite piece does make a good point though about whose voices actually make up online crowds.

    It makes sense that the only consumers who would be motivated enough to write a review of something would be the people that really, really like it, or the people that really, really dislike it. So it makes sense that most reviews are either very positive or very negative. I do not think that is a totally bad things though, it is probably still better than not being able to see any reviews at all. I also found this article that says that just asking consumers to leave a review and increase the number of reviews a business gets, so maybe that is part of the answer (https://wiremo.co/business/customers-likely-leave-online-reviews/).

    I see some similarities between writing the text for a link and writing a good headline. In doing both, you want to make it clear to the reader what they can expect if they read the story or click the link. I would not want to read a story if I have no idea what it is about, and I also would not want to click on a link if I had no idea where it was going to take me. I also like the idea of using links mainly on nouns. Those would be the things that the reader would most likely need some extra context to understand and I think links can do a good job of providing that extra context.

  2. Crowdsourcing has the potential to be a reliable source, but it has to be conducted in the correct way. When you obtain information from a large group of people, you receive different pieces of information that can be connected to create reliable statements of fact. That’s why the idea of “random sample” is so crucial to finding public opinion, like in political polling. The more people you have, the better chance you have of finding new, undiscovered information or perspectives for a topic.

    For example, Sarah Perez’s “The Dirty Little Secret About the ‘Wisdom of the Crowds’—There is No Crowd,” she talks about how Wikipedia—though it was thought to be written by a diverse community—is actually controlled by a small group of volunteers. “1% of Wikipedia users are responsible for half of the site’s edits.” (Perez) To me that seems absolutely crazy, considering it’s nearly impossible for that small of a number to have all the answers on half of what Wikipedia has to offer.

    To me, links are the in-text citation of a blog or online article. You wouldn’t say something like “you can find this information in this book here” on a research paper, so why would it be acceptable to on an online article. It’s important that the links blend with the flow of the story, because their main purpose is to serve as the evidence behind the writer’s statements. The first goal is to get. Viewers to read the story, and the clickable links are there to seamlessly embed reliable information that supports the story.

  3. Holly Fry says:

    Crowdsourcing does seem to be the best way to do things, why do magicians and improv groups pull their answers from the crowd? By getting more variety, you can see how people think and this can then lead to why they think this way. If they are given certain reasons to believe a certain fact, you can use it to your advantage with using text to make them question their need to have a source. I think the best text to use to like to a source is the action words that make sense with the topic. Even with this post, using “talks about links” then linking it to a literal talk about links themselves, makes them seem more approachable to not only click but incorporate in your own articles. Using the actual information in the link text helps the skimmers, so they can still get all of the information and could even get some more clicks if they use those special underlined texts to find other helpful information. I had no idea that the way you link your text could help your posts get higher ranked on google, then pushing your circulation even further outward. On many other sites instead of using a blue linking text it is more of an orange, which could be just their theme, but if the data is true that older people can’t see the blue as well, this might just be a way to help improve that problem.

  4. I believe that crowdsourcing can be helpful and provide a “wisdom” that could be useful to another. As the video put, the more input one is given the closer the crowd was to the true answer. If you have a group of people and each member has a different segment of information then when they come together it gives a high probability that they will provide true, new, and supportive answer. The problem with crowdsourcing is if not done a certain way can lead to negative and incorrect data. If the group is too small or not diverse enough that idea of “wisdom of the crowds” goes down the drain.

    There is also the possibility that a crowdsourcing choice or opinion could be twisted by the organizer and the survey is useless anyway. This is why linking trusted sources throughout your own work or within an article helps the audience/reader understand your work better as well as being able to make themselves more knowledgeable on the details of the topic. The ability to us links to answer common questions is how articles/writing in the digital world stay afloat. Something I found interesting in this weeks reads, was the idea that how and what you hyperlink matters to your Google ranking. This fact itself, show how important linking is. Being able to use hyperlinks within your writing rather than with the words ‘click here’ help Google recognize the word usage and make those webpages appear in a search results.

    There is a reason links stand out with their blue color and underline format. Humans are curious people, and we desire to know more. When we see links we know there is more to learn and that there is something beyond this one story or source. The more links you are able to give the more connections and community you are able to build.

  5. Crowd sourcing is a great way to find more information a topic, in a community that is interested in it. You can find your best information off of people who are interested in what your trying to talk about. When talking to a large group of people, you may get the same in different ways, or even completely different answers, but the main goal is, you get an average answer. When I first read “crowdsourcing”, I instantly just imagined a large group of people at an event and someone interviewing them. But then after reading the article, I realized that its more than just an actual crowd, but an internet community as well. Reviews on websites and even Wikipedia are considered crowd sourcing since they are speaking their opinion on something they’re invested in.
    I never realized the symbolism of why links look the way they do in post. The blue and underline truly make those words on the page standout and if stated in a good way, can really make the reader curious, and click the link to find out more. When I am interested in learning more about a topic, I find myself falling into an internet hole of clicking more and more links to learn more about different components.

  6. haileyspicer says:

    Crowdsourcing is the practice of engaging a crowd or group for a common goal. These goals include innovation, problem solving, or efficiency. I believe crowd sourcing is a great way to discover more information about a topic one is interested in. It allows organizations with access to new ideas and opportunities. Before researching about crowd sourcing, I was not aware about the importance of it and how it has transformed the way businesses generate ideas and receive results and feedback that you would not discover using a different approach. I believe this concept is very affective and all businesses should be using it to their advantage.

    I had no idea the method behind the madness of hyperlinks. They are typically in blue and are a representative for more information. If you use value words as a hyperlink text, the reader is less likely to click on it due to the lack of keywords. If the reader has an idea of what they’re clicking on, their more likely to click it to find out more information. I found it very interesting that “click here” links are bad for your rank in Google. It is very important to remember the placement and choice of words to link matters, especially in your own work.

  7. briannaherscher says:

    Crowdsourcing has been used for many years by a range of people from magicians to journalist, it can prove to be a great way to build your audience and your information about a subject. For example often times at the start of class we’ll do sort of crowdsourcing exercise to see what we’re talking about and what type of information we each know about the subject. I feel like this is a great way for anyone in any career to increase their knowledge about a potential topic for better results.

    The topic of hyperlinks was actually really interesting and informative for me. As an avid social media user, I constantly see hyperlinks of all types whether it be short clickbait hyperlinks to long hyperlinks. I can say that I completely understand why shorter but concise hyperlinks draw more of an audience because people’s attention spans are never very long when reading on the internet which is why most journalism stories have the most important information at the top. I was actually surprised to learn that the “click here” is bad for a google rating. I feel like if you have a good enough sentence leading up to the click here you can still manage to have a good audience outcome. When writing blogs or stories I can see why hyperlinks are so important because they connect the reader to the sources that helped you reach the thought process you had while writing.

  8. Crowdsourcing is an effective way to gather information and can be used by anyone. From brainstorming in a class room, to social media ads drawing you in when you use the internet, crowdsourcing works to grab the attention of the audience. It helps to boost interaction and get ideas flowing in order to obtain a successful result. This method has been around for many years, but social media has helped boost the engagement of crowdsourcing.

    The information regarding links and why not to use “click here” is somewhat shocking to me. I was unaware that those types of links were the worst to use on the Internet. From the mass amount of social media accounts that I come across every day, there are a lot of bloggers, tweets, and ads that use the click here method. It is useful to know while I am creating my blog that these are not the most effective ways to grab the attention of the audience. Shorter hyperlinks will grab more attention of the audience. I will keep this is mind while writing my blog to make sure I engage the most amount of audience I can.

  9. Crowdsourcing is definitely useful to say the least. It works very well if it’s done the right way, and it’s used by all kinds of different people. Magicians are referenced along with journalists and voters, they all take advantage of “wisdom of the crowds” in an effective way. I understand the counterpoint as well though, the idea that it doesn’t actually work because “there is no crowd” reigns true in some cases. Like Wikipedia, if only 1% of users are editing information, that gives the power for that small group to possibly distort information read by the masses. Same with Amazon, only 5% of Amazon users cast votes about products and a few of them voted a few hundred times. That clearly ruins the attempted survey.

    The hyperlink situation is interesting too, the over-saturation of clickbait has become a problem. I understand why we should probably avoid using “click here” links, they just seem spammy. Plus, there’s a decrease in search engine performance and content find-ability, which is pretty much the opposite of what we’re trying to do.

  10. patrickswebsite537111432 says:

    I think that crowdsourcing is a very effective method if you decide your answer on what the majority thinks. An example of crowdsourcing would be a survey. If you want to know what the majority of a group thinks about a certain topic, run a survey. However, the negative side of surveys and crowdsourcing in general is who you are asking. If you are asking a not very diverse group of people the answer is going to be swayed and not very accurate. That being said, I believe that crowdsourcing overall is an effective method. From meetings, comment sections, voting, to surveys crowdsourcing is a great way to get information from large groups of people.

    When it comes to hyperlinks I think that it is very important to know how to utilize them in the right way. I think the most effective hyperlinks are those that lead the reader into more information about something. For example, if you mention a specific person and don’t want to go into detail about them, leave a link to a wikipedia article on them or some sort of biography. I think that most people would rather just read your story and not get sidetracked over too many hyperlinks.

  11. adamjpayne says:

    The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines crowdsourcing as, “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” I think that crowdsourcing, especially when it comes to blogs, is crucial. I think that incorporating other viewpoints with a common goal is the over-arching methodology when it comes to crowdsourcing, and it helps to fade away the layer of individual opinion in favor of the topic. From Wikipedia, implemented sources or surveys all can be used to crowdsource articles.

    I also found it so interesting that different links appear higher up on google searches, and the way people implement them an affect if they get clicked or not. Additionally, I think it was important to know the difference of what should be linked or not because before I could have been hyperlinking blindly (haha) But overall, I think hyperlinking and sources in general are necessary to know how to do correctly or else you can get neither crowdsourcing nor views on your content, and then get no following. And, we don’t want that!

  12. deanmarrazzo says:

    I think that crowdsourcing could be a very effective method of gathering information on a particular topic. By crowdsourcing you are getting a wide variety of input due to the larger amount of people you are communicating with. This is like taking a wide ranging survey on a topic. I hadn’t really thought about what exactly the act of crowdsourcing was until this assignment. It is a method that has been used for a very long time in many different professions.

    There is a surprising amount of effort and consideration that must go into a hyperlink. I found that hyperlinks in blogs are often used to further a fairly simple point and proved more detail. One thing I learned from this was that having a hyperlink connected to something long and descriptive is less likely to grab attention. A “click here” button is also less likely to pull a reader in because it isn’t enticing. But having a hyperlink connected to a short statement that leads a reader to question something is a great way to get them to click.

  13. Considering that the Internet is essentially a place built up from and currently thriving on the masses, I think it’s fair to say that crowdsourcing is a success. By reaching out to the public, you receive a wide variety of responses, opinions and answers to the question you’re seeking, from all different kinds of people. One problem that I can see with this is the idea of “mob mentality.” It’s not unlike people to see someone have an opinion and just assume it’s correct, then adopt the second person’s opinion for themselves without doing any research on their own.

    As for the rest of the articles, one fact that I had no idea about but found insanely interesting was that people are most likely to click a link if it’s blue, as opposed to any other color, including shades of blue that lean towards green. Sadly, this is a problem for elderly people because as we age, we’re less and less able to see the color blue. It really makes me wonder how websites that use shades other than blue for their hyperlinks preform on the click-through rates compared to those who use the standard blue.

  14. I believe crowdsourcing would be a good way to get answers from the group. I feel like you could either get several different answers or even similar answers. It is definitely a way to get a variety of answers from people interested in the topic. It could also increase ideas for topics. For example, for class we sort of do a crowdsourcing exercise when we put on the board what we are talking about that day. I also think crowd sourcing could be used during a big event when they ask questions to the audience to get a variety of different answers, or event the same ones based on the audience and the event. I think the hyperlinks help the curiosity of the people surfing the internet. I know I am guilty of clicking the blue text with a link to find out more about a topic. I thought it was interesting that google ranks the links. I never realized it, but it makes sense. It makes sense that hyperlinks usually do better than a “click here” link. The blue text seems more appealing to the reader, and usually a “click here” can seem like a trap. Personally to me, I don’t like the “click here” text links because in my mind they seem like they could lead you somewhere you don’t want to be. The blue hyperlink in a text seem more factual and has more credibility.

  15. sadiejanes says:

    I’ve always thought of crowdsourcing as a financial strategy to allow numerous individuals to contribute to one big thing. I’ve always thought of “crowd-funding” websites like GoFundMe as the basic example of crowdsourcing. I never really thought of crowdsourcing as a means to obtain valuable information or ideas, but I did a little research and found that a lot of huge companies use crowdsourcing. According to an article from CBS News, Netflix uses crowdsourcing to improve software algorithms. Also, I suppose websites like Yelp, Goodreads, and Rotten Tomatoes are crowdsourced. Based on the ideas presented in the Nova video, the ratings found on those websites are probably more reflective of what they’re rating than an individual critic could be.

    I had no idea that the way I’ve been linking is affecting my Google search results. I’ve avoided “click here” links so far because I’ve been emulating what I see in the online publications – and to my knowledge, none of them are guilty of posting “click here” links. I think I have been linking relevant words, but I will certainly be more aware of how and what I’m linking in future posts. I was really interested in the article from Medium that claimed users only read 20-28% of the content on a webpage. The words I’m linking should definitely be relevant to the story I’m writing and the page I’m linking to, but I feel like I should also try to link words that are compelling to my audience, since the highlighted links are where their eyes will go first.

    The Medium article also delved into the issue of accessibility – that is, how your use of links impacts how people who are blind use your website. People who are blind often tab through the links on webpages and the text within the hyperlink is read out to them. If all that’s read out to them are phrases like “click here” and “learn more,” that’s not giving them a lot of information, and it’s inhibiting them from using your webpage effectively.

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