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Two Powerful Link Experiences

Two Powerful Link Experiences

I was very happy when Tony asked if I’d like to submit an article to The Blog Herald, as I’m a regular reader of both this blog and Tony’s Deep Jive Interests.

I first reviewed several months of The Blog Herald to brainstorm post ideas. One that stood out was Changing Life With a Link by Lorelle VanFossen. It asks the question: Has your life been changed just because of a single link?

I’d like to share two experiences with links that were particularly inspirational to me as a beginning blogger.

My First Important Link

In the beginning, I wrote many aimless articles with no clear point or purpose. I was unclear what to write about and why, still grappling with the technical aspects of blogging. As a result, I had zero traffic, zero comments, and zero links for several months.

But over time, a few comments and links began trickling in. One link was particularly memorable as it came from a blog I read to this day: Mathew Ingram. Mathew linked to my post How About A Web 2.0 Newspaper? containing my thoughts on what a future of newspapers might be like. His post contained this brief but effective thought:

“Not a bad idea.”

I’m pretty sure Mathew didn’t give much thought about linking to my blog from his (maybe I should ask him someday). But his link meant a great deal to me in those early days, and lent motivation to continue blogging. He did “change my life with a link.”

The Birds and The Whale

The second link experience I want to share was a result of this post: Class Warfare and the Blogging A-List. My post was a response to Jason Calacanis’s feeling that the blogosphere has no A-list, which in itself was a response to Tony Hung’s post A-List Types Refuse To Acknowledge Blogging’s Blue Collar Class. As a lowly member of the blogging B and C list (and in defense of the blogging D through Z list from which I crawled up from), I took issue with Jason’s denial.

Several experiences resulted from that article. I received many links all through the blogosphere hierarchy including… bird watching blogs. Blogger Elaine Vigneault also questioned my choice of words, causing me to look at things in a new perspective.

I realized that one of the most rewarding things about blogging (above traffic, comments, and notoriety) are discovering the blogs and bloggers behind the comments and links that appear on your own blog. I regularly read Tony, Jason, Elaine, Steven, and The Bird Watching Blog to this day.

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I’ll quote myself (with a bit of editing):

This is why blogging never ceases to surprise me. You get someone up in the stratosphere… and like a butterfly flapping its wings, repercussions filter all down through the blogosphere. Maybe it’s more like a dead whale that sinks to the bottom of the sea and a whole ecology of fish, plankton, and coral create life from it.

But this situation reminds me that the coolest thing about blogging is the new blogs I’ve discovered and connections I’ve made. Sometimes you write a post, and hit “publish,” fully expecting nobody to read it. But through the medium of feeds, comments, and links from other blogs, you realize there are definitely people reading, and you affect their lives in some small way.

Links Are Powerful

Links are powerful because:

  • You realize someone is actually reading your blog.
  • When people link to your blog on their own volition, it can be an act of generosity.
  • When blog you read links back to you, traditional “one way” media becomes “two way”.
  • Linking and having a conversation across blogs can be both fun and satisfying, and be yet another reason for blogging.
  • On the other side of a link you may encounter a different point of view, from which you may gain perspective, become a better writer, or broaden your mind.
  • The entire Internet is built on the link. By linking to others, you’re helping to build out an entire network of collective information.

So consider the power of links, and I hope this post inspires you to link to some new blogs from your own.

View Comments (13)
  • Gralley has posted links that WONT effect my life ;)

    My most powerful link experience was this girl who linked to my blog with “Rhys is this nutcase”. I had never seen or heard of her before, but she was a long time reader as she picked up on a few posts. Eventually we got talking, and we dated for a while.

    Okay, we’re not a couple no more (distance really), but she’s still my best friend :)

  • Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I’ve long talked about how powerful links are, but until someone’s experienced one, it’s so hard to describe the impact. Well done and thank you again!

  • Jason, I am flattered — and honoured — that you chose me as one of the links that had such an inspirational effect on you.

    You are quite right that I didn’t really think about that link when I posted it — I just knew that you had raised an interesting point, and who you were or how long you had been blogging or any of those things were effectively irrelevant.

    That’s the great thing about the blogosphere :-)


  • You’re welcome – as Lorelle pointed out, although links are pretty simple and seemingly small it’s a big reason why I continue blogging. Makes digging through all the spam worthwhile to occasionally come across something new.

  • Jason –

    I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. During the first month or two of my ‘blogging career’ LifeHacker linked to a tutorial that I wrote. I was absolutely floored. To see a site that I had (and still have) such an incredible level of respect for, find something that I wrote ‘worthy’ of linking to, was a leading factor in my decision to continue blogging. It wasn’t the traffic that the link generated, or the additional linkbacks that they caused, it was that one link from them.

  • Hi Ross – (nice to see you here) – yeah, I think to get a link from a site you respect (lifehacker in your case – I like that site, too) means a huge amount, possibly more than scads of traffic from a social news site.

  • Great post, I enjoy blog because of the conversation between fellow bloggers… all the communication can happen on the blog.

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