A month or so ago, I started using a PHP link management thing to keep track of a “surf log.” I have used this script for the few years for other tasks, although it is an aborted beta, and it has worked fine in managing links in a simplistic way. I didn’t want to start an old-style “link blog,” and yet, the ever-exploding bookmarks in my browser left me with a sort of information overload. Things were falling through the cracks because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I was thinking about the “stack model” that blogs represent (where the oldest information falls out the bottom), thinking that if a more persistant “stack” was present on my blog page, it might motivate me to deal with the links sooner. I added it to my sidebar, and moved the static reference links I use to a separate page.

The distinction, for me, was one of audience. I think of my sidebar as a convenience, not as a constructed document written for an audience. I always thought that the “politics of linking” discussion (again, dating myself back a few years in blogging debates) was really overblown. I link stuff because I find it interesting in some way. However, it is undeniable that before the advent of RSS, Technorati, and all that stuff, that linking was a social tool. It made you “visible” in referrer logs, as a sort of gesture at, not necessarily a “vote of confidence” for, people you read. I made a lot of connections that way—I still do. RSS is murdering that in some ways but hopefully it won’t kill it completely. Checking referrer logs is more fun (for me) than Technorati; referrer logs give a different sort of picture than an anonymous hit count.

Though I’ve been resistant to doing a lot of link-comment-post things here, I can really see the utility of blogging as a link management tool. It allows you to search your history and find those gems that just hang at the back of your memory, nagging at you. I think that is one area where the tools could be improved in significant ways. Chronological organization, though, just doesn’t really make much sense of link management. It seems like this would be much better in a sort of wiki-space. But the problem is, it isn’t possible for me to learn too many technologies at once. I’d rather be researching, than sorting out research. I don’t see this blog as an information gathering service; I see it as a thoughtspace.

1 thought on “Linking”

  1. I agree. The dance in the referral logs is much more subtle and RSS. The worst of it is that you find yourself broadcasting those anonymous others who read you, or may read you, in an aggregator.

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