Phil Baumann wrote this week on the importance of attribution. He describes the creeping trend of healthcare bloggers to avoid attribution and outbound links.
I’m a good example. And for good reason. I make every effort to link as little as possible and only where absolutely necessary. Contrarian, you say? Perhaps.
For years the social media gurus have propogated what’s known as ‘link love.’ Link love is about how we improve our standing with other bloggers. It’s about how we can look good, get traffic, and ‘remind’ other people that we’re boosting them up so that we can have the ultimate social reward of being boosted ourselves.
For too long the blogosphere has been self-absorbed with little regard for the reader. Bloggers ruminate over metrics, SEO terms, cross-linking, blogrolls, where their blinking ads are placed and other things that have little to do with anything but themselves.
Bloggers instead should obsess about the experience of their readers.
And when it comes to links the intent is what’s important.
Links have their place when they serve the needs and interests of the reader, not the social currency of the writer. I add links when my idea or concept can be attributed primarily to one person. I link when the outbound content is so remarkable that it will add to the reader’s experience.
This experience we create for our readers speaks for how we respect their time. And links created with the intent of selling ourselves should be seen as piece of blogging’s narcissistic past.