Blogging – and wiki writing – is about linking. Actually, all writing, probably all communication, is about linking (intertextuality, cross-referencing, name checking; allusions, foreshadowing and flashbacks, quoting, gossiping, telling stories about the day …). Working digitally means means using links that already operate in communication but also using the digital affordance of the hypertext link. Wikipedia has a fundamental explanation of the hypertext link as used on the web, while David Kolb theorizes what it means to read and write complexly linked text.
(Typically, text isn’t as heavily linked as the paragraph above for reasons of usability. And, just so you know, it took me longer to select the link targets and refine the link text than it took to compose the text of the paragraph. Blogging isn’t about speed. It’s about depth and breadth.)
Linking is part of writing a blog post – on the same level as thinking through what to write. Linking means creating links to web pages, other blog posts, images, videos, definitions, alternative considerations. Learning to link takes practice. When they are well done, links aren’t simply stuck in or added on. They become integral to the post.
For next week in Bootcamp2017, writing about RSS and CC gives you an opportunity to practice this kind of hypertext writing, which involves introducing sources, incorporating them into your own work, commenting on what others are saying and doing… Each week, you’ll also be linking from your reflections to the posts you wrote during the week, creating a sort of table of contents in which you comment on your own work. But the main move in a blog post is to link to other places.
Embedding an image or video – yours or those of others – is also linking. It also demands some commentary.
A good way to see how links work in action is to go visiting. Visit some of the blogs listed in the blog roll under Past Contributors to set a sense of how and when they link. Not every post includes a link. But you’ll find that posts with links are richer, have more potential to be read, tend to be more interesting. The writer who links out is also drawing stuff in, bringing something else to your attention. Drawing attention to something obligates the writer to introduce and comment on it – say something about what is being brought forward.
For the mechanics of linking, read The Missing Manual, chap 4. Or try Links at the WP support pages.
some notes on linking