Scott Rosenberg, co-founder of Salon.com and a writer and editor, makes his contribution to a series on links and linking with a love letter to the humble hyperlink:
Links, you see, do so much more than just whisk us from one webpage to another. They are not just textual tunnel-hops or narrative chutes-and-ladders. Links, properly used, don’t just pile one “And now this!” upon another. They tell us, “This relates to this, which relates to that.”
Links announce our presence. They show a writer’s work. They are badges of honesty, inviting readers to check that work. They demonstrate fairness. They can be simple gestures of communication; they can be complex signifiers of meaning. They make connections between things. They add coherence. They build context.
“Yes, 2009 is different from 2000-2002. But the fundamental lesson remains: you can get some revenue from readers, and there’s nothing wrong with trying; but if in doing so you cut yourself off from the rest of the web in any way, you are dooming yourself to irrelevance and financial decline.”