Hey IOL, it’s ok to link to Gareth Cliff’s blog post

I just read an article on IOL titled “Gareth Cliff pours out his heart in blog“. I noticed that while IOL mentions Cliff’s “blog post [which he wrote] to share how he feels about M-Net’s decision to fire him”, IOL didn’t bother to link to his actual blog post, titled “While We Were Sleeping  #SparrowGate2“.


Journalism professor (and general expert on matters such as this), Jeff Jarvis wrote the following in his book “Geeks Bearing Gifts” (see his blog post highlighting this, here, and the full chapter of his book, here):

Media people tend to believe that content has intrinsic value — that is why they say people should pay for it and why some object when Google quotes snippets from it. But in an ecosystem of links online, new economics are in force. Online, content with no links has no value because it has no audience. Content gains value as it gains links. That formula was the key insight behind Google: that links to content are a signal of its value; thus, the more links to a page from sites that themselves have more links, the more useful, relevant, or valuable that content is likely to be.

IOL would probably object to people citing its articles without, at the very least, linking back to the source articles. It is only responsible and appropriate that its journalists link to online sources they reference in their articles. Links are the currency of online media (it’s a relatively old concept but it still applies).

When you just take material from someone without the courtesy of a link, at a bare minimum, you devalue their contribution and undermine your own insistence that you be credited for your work. If you don’t want people to exit your site when they click on the link, just modify the link properties to open a new tab or window. If your article is as engaging as you think it is, your reader will stick around and keep reading.


About the article title: This is just me being pedantic. Cliff didn’t pour “his heart in blog”, it is a blog post. The blog is the whole thing. The blog post is the atomic unit of the blog. Like I said, I’m just being pedantic IOL isn’t the only publication that makes that mistake.

Image credit: Chain Links by Unsplash, sourced from Pixabay and released under a CC0 Dedication.


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