Kicks Condor

Reply: Should We Pool?

Joe Jenett

Since 1997, Ive spent, on average, about 4 hours per day grinding away on my web linking projects, which also included (daily site reviews) from 10/1997 thru 9/2010. I cant conceive of the notion of waiting for links to come to me, which leads me to the other part of your comment.

Ok, interesting—yeah, I’d agree, hunting can suck up hours of time. And, yeah, if you are spending four hours per day, I’m not going to keep up, since I’m lucky to get in four hours per week.

Glad for your honest reason. Very glad for ‘brutal’ honesty—to just have your thoughts succinctly, rather than to beat around the bush for three months.

What I mean to say is that I’m not looking to combine my efforts with yours (or vice-versa). We’ve already shared knowledge and our enthusiasm for the medium and our love for linking—that’s sure to be an ongoing (enjoyable) thing. But pooling our knowledge, or collaborating between sites on some type of joint effort is different than simply communicating between sites, and between us, in my mind.

Right—I don’t mean to say that we’re going to just merge our sites together—although I did discuss trying to be clear about link-finding strategies, which borders on a trade secret I suppose. (Especially where you’ve been doing this for several decades.) And I am happy to rescind that request—I’m not trying to steal your strategy, even if I am planning to clearly lay out mine.

But let’s back up: I think we must have a fundamentally different view of where the Web is today. (imho) Link-finding has changed dramatically from the early days of the Web. Back then, everything was a link. The whole landscape was personal home pages, web comics, and niche forums. Magellan-level exploration.

Today, the Web we’re inhabiting is a niche. There is very little growth out here by comparison. Surely, there is still an infinite landscape to explore, but much of it is ad-ridden, startup- or software-focused. ‘Bloggers’ are moving toward ‘influencers’. When people talk about ‘the blogs’, they think about pundits, TMZ-type Paparazzi and minor celebrities. The rest of blogging has become an extension of Pinterest: personal recipe and home decor blogs dominate.

The ‘Indieweb’/‘Indie Web’ is a niche like vinyl collectors. It won’t ever achieve mainstream significance again. When I talk to meatspace friends about The Web, they look at it as a quaint little city that doesn’t really offer them anything new. And the only thing I can appeal to is a type of idealism: aesthetic and political idealism.

So, whereas link-finding use to be the essential task of mapping out the frontier, our new task is different: to broadcast the location of our outpost so that the holdouts who are still blogging and the wanderers, who happen to be drawn to experiment with a blog, know where we are.

I really think that an important part of our work will be to lay out how we link-find—not so that newcomers can just copy the technique—but so that they know where we’re looking. If we’re looking at tags on Pinboard, then they know where to post on Pinboard. If we’re sharing on certain hashtags on Twitter, then they know. In the past, this might have caused those channels to be oversatured—but I really don’t think spam will be our problem. Our problem is survival.

Of course, we wish the old days would return. But the future will be better, somehow. I just don’t think it will inhabit The Web again.

If you disagree or roll your eyes at any of this—no problem, no problem whatsoever. The invitation is soft—no need to get involved with anything. Focus on your work. (Fantastic work!) I just hope that my efforts won’t be upsetting you in some way. I’d rather be of a benefit, if that can possibly be the case.

  1. Thanks for understanding what I was trying to say. Based on what you clarified in your reply, let me offer the following: I do find many links via pinboard and follow a large and growing list of users (via my network rss feed, which includes all of the users I've subscribed to). I cite the pinboard user as the source when a link I use comes from them (which is relatively easy to track). I find new pinboard users to follow both by browsing pinboard and by following and filtering the recent rss feed. I also follow a few tags like design, dev, blogs, automation, etc. The most important feed is the network feed,

    I also have a number of other sources I follow by feed and by browsing/exploring/surfing the web (which I won't share as a list though I've linked to many of them). In general, I try to cite sources when I find new links, though tracking all of that information has its limitations. Anyone who explores my sites can see my sources. If they don't see a source cited it might be that I couldn't track it, it's a link I've seen on more than one site, or it's the type of site I simply will not link to (for a number of reasons like ads, annoyances, or commercial content/tone, as examples). In many cases, I've linked to sites at the dailywebthing who are also sources/potential sources for other links. Several of your projects and Brad's directory are just a few examples. Finally on this subject, I've got to say that the community leads to a lot of web out there, particularly newer blogs.

    As far as how we view the web, I may be a little simple-minded about linking. My goal is to provide people with a pleasant web surfing experience, free of the ad-ridden crap and all the other types of annoyances that the web is full of (and always has been). To me, it's very subjective what I mean when I use like words like 'pleasant' or 'annoying' or even 'useful.' In my case, what I do when I 'link-find' is probably somewhat a reaction to some things I don't care for. The new indieweb tools do help get the word out and also lead to interaction - those are good things that enhance linking. But yes, it 's all kinda like vinyl records or even the Grateful Dead. I don't mind being part of the few. Mainstream is over-rated and scarcity adds value to the gems we find.

    I didn't think you wanted to 'merge' sites or anything like that. But it seemed to me you wanted to somehow coordinate our efforts, and whether I took that right or wrong, that's what I was responding to. I like your honesty too - it makes for meaningful discourse. Thanks.

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