Sunday, January 10, 2010

Is "linklove" a dying concept?

As Twitter, Facebook, and other social networking tools have grown in prominence and become immediate ways to share information, is there any room left for "linklove" between blogs? I'm not so sure anymore...

But let's first recap: before the ubiquity of social media tools that facilitate community building and information sharing, linking to one another's blogs, either through blogrolls or by links in posts, was extremely important. Getting the blogroll "permalink" was most important, esp. if it came from a high-ranking blog. A permalink on a high-ranking blog would eventually help the Google Page Rank of your blog, thus putting your blog higher in search.

As we shared linklove with one another, we demonstrated community. Bloggers were often working at more than just their blogs or other nascent forms of social media (many developing them) so our sense of community was in the acknowledgment of reading one another.

It seems, though, that this type of passive community building, which lead to much value in search, has been superceded--or perhaps just shouted down--by those who believe the "community" is one that is in constant interaction with you, either on your blog or across other social media tools.

Also, I have noticed, that as "social media" and blogs have become a bigger part of marketing communications, cross-linking in the body of blog posts to other bloggers, as well as keeping blogrolls, has declined. It seems as if to give credit to the thinking of other bloggers will, somehow, take away from the value of the marketing blog's post. The idea, too, of keeping a blogroll, to some marketing clients, feels too much as if they are giving something away to "competition." The first--to not link to influencing content-- is ethically problematic when we consider that some of the content on some marketing blogs might actually be inspired by other blogs. Why the lack of links to original sources? I can understand if all other blogs are seen as "competition" but to not link back to an original source? That seems a bit like plagiarism.

Perhaps this shift from the known notion of "linklove" has happened because of the rise in SEO and its emphasis on keyworks and in-site page linking, and the lack of necessity for linking outside of one's own site. It has, though, influenced what we consider community--and how that community is measured. Is the value of a blog now in the numbers of people who might come to your blog and say "great post!" rather than in the page rank? Or is the value in the number of re-Tweets you can get for a post?

I wonder....

More food for thought: here's a nice discussion on Twitter's Little Known SEO Value--thus the re-Tweet becomes just as important, if not more, than the direct link from a high-ranking blog. Curious shift indeed--and something that causes a drastic change in understanding of what constitutes a blog's "community."

Update 1/29/10 Check out these posts from Technology Review on how Google, since December, now has real time search and how its going to be ranking Tweets. Also, URL shorteners, combined with with real-time search into social networking sites helps to spread new kinds of linklove.

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