Saturday, June 4, 2011

Click here to add link

There's lots of talk about linking. Link, link, link – it's what Bora Z calls the "currency of the web" and a fundamental element in journalism these days. Link out to sources, to scientific papers, to interesting videos or more comprehensive explainers. Linking establishes credibility, trust, and with everything online, it's easier to do than ever before.

So linking is important, got that. But sometimes the writer of a story doesn't either a) know the best places to link, or b) care enough to fill his/her story with useful links. So why is there no easy mechanism for other people (not the original author), to add links themselves, after the story has been published? Someone could be reading the piece an think - oh! I know a great explanatory blog post on exactly that topic, or man, I know a great infographic that illustrates exactly that point, or wow, I wished she had linked to the original study, it took me 15 min to track it down. This wouldn't have to be a free-for-all link fest littering stories with useless spam – it could be moderated by the author.

Kinda like Facebook and photo tagging. Facebook lets you tag yourself or friends in photos that you didn't take, and the request goes to the original photographer, who then approves the tag or not. Couldn't links work the same way?

"So-and-so wants to add a link to your story." [Accept] [Don't Accept]

Seems simple enough to me, and for all I know this already exists in some way shape or form. But as long as stories can be edited and updated after the fact (they certainly can online) and as long as the author wants to make his/her story the most useful as possible, there should be some sort of "add link" mechanism, in addition to regular comments. Now... who knows how to make this happen?

All Wired, all the time.

The past few weeks have been, well, just slightly insane. I started working at Wired (a name that quite aptly matches the intensity of the office atmosphere), and getting used to deadlines that approach by the hour instead of the week has been, let's just say, a learning experience. Not to mention that satellites and DARPA aren't exactly my specialty. But now that my hands have finally stopped shaking, it's a blast. Learning something totally – I mean totally – new every day and having something published by the end of it is pretty cool (especially when I can Photoshop the picture). Here are some of the articles I've written so far.