Link Love Can Hurt

    July 11, 2007

So, I guess if there was one thing we could all conceptually agree on, it would be that the link, in all its iterations and forms, has become the accepted currency of the social web — especially in the context of blogging.

I tend to think most people grok the importance and practice of linking via blogs, but the norms and nuances that come with linking aren’t always self evident, plus they’re evolving and because of that, there’s all sorts of potential for weirdness, particularly for corporate bloggers.

Case in point, and this is a true story, a company with a fairly well-respected group blog was linking to certain media stories to color and add perspective to its posts, like many blogs tend to do. The authors were doing so with purpose and intent, appealing I suppose to those reporters they were linking to, but in the process also subtly and unknowingly alienating a sub-set of industry media by *not* linking to their stuff. It got to the point where a few reporters were starting to feel a bit snubbed and said as much.

I know, it sounds a bit junior high-ish to say the least and frankly, I don’t way to imply that it was that big of a deal – it really wasn’t – but I use it as point here because as both companies and the media struggle with the new economics of attention, new models for news making, and new vehicles for communication, the power and potential of a simple link is something you can’t overlook. It’s the most valuable and dangerous commodity you have on the web….