Most likely the Internet did not exist when you learned how to read and write in school. You were taught linear writing. First an introduction, then supporting paragraphs followed by a conclusion. If you wanted to reference something, you added that at the end in a bibliography .
But then the Word Wide Web arrived and with it hyperlinks. Hyperlinks make the World Wide Web what it is. If links did not exist, EVERY web page would be a stand alone. Hyperlinks make a word or a series of words “clickable”. Traditionally they underline the chosen word or phrase and are recognized by changing the font color to blue. Themes and other formatting of website can change the appearance of links.
Most of our online and digital reading (websites, ebooks, blogs, social media platforms) include hyperlinks in one shape or another. #Hashtags on social media platforms are commonly and widely used nowadays (ex. current events, marketing, reality TV shows, sporting events, live events, digital book clubs, etc.) and are also a form of hyperlinking, stringing isolated tweets, images, videos or other media together.
As educators, in charge of preparing our students to be literate (being able to read, write and communicate as productive members of society), we need to ask ourselves: are we doing our students justice, if we do not include hyperlinked writing as a genre that we teach? How do we teach it, when we don’t have experience writing in this genre for ourselves?
This blogging challenge introduces you to hyperlinks: What are they? How to create them? What to link to? You will write a blog post, that contains a variety of links. Experiment with different types of links. How can you move away from a linear blog post? Show your readers the connections of your thinking or resources you consulted, your train of thought, the breadcrumbs that lead you to your current thinking.
Add the link to your Challenge #3 post in the comment section below.
What are Hyperlinks and what is Hyperlinked Writing?
Others call hyperlinked writing layered writing or connected, non-linear writing and amplified writing
Wes Fryer on his blog Moving At the Speed of Creativity shares
Hyperlinked writing is the most powerful form of writing, and provides one of the most important aspects of complexity in writing for a global audience. There is great power as well as responsibility when you link to the ideas of another.
Digital texts have the potential to make a big, juicy mess of a linear experience. Or to turn a so-so piece of writing into a masterful collection of references, linktributions, and pointers to other good stuff. My hunch, a rough one, but one held for a while, is that reading and writing that way makes you (ultimately) a better reader and writer.
How to link in your blog post?
- highlight the word or phrase, you would like to make a link of
- click on the insert/edit link button in toolbar
- write or paste the URL of the link
- click the arrow button to create the link
What could you link to in your blog post?
- name –> online hub (website, blog, Twitter, Facebook profile, etc.)
- brand name –> company’s website
- word –> definition
- quote–> original source
- phrase –> content context/background
- phrase–> someone else’s perspective
- conversation –> Twitter Hashtag
- example –>example in action/ demonstration of examples
- theory –> practice
- theme/topic/concept–> previous writing
- collaborative writing pieces –> pieces of another contributor to the topic
Linking Faux Pas
One of the faux pas, often seen in hyperlinked writing, are “grammatical and syntax” errors in expressing a well formed sentence while including hyperlinks.
- links are not integrated into the flow of the sentence (Ex. Click here, here, and here…)
- link text is not descriptive (Ex. Click here to see , Check out my latest blog post, Take a look at…)
- links do not clearly indicate what the reader can expect to find if they were to click on the link
- links are the URL (link address) spelled out, instead of embedded into the flow of the text sentence. (Ex. Take a look at http://www.edjewcon.org/announcing-edjewcons-blogging-challenge/)
While U. S. Senator Ted Stevens’ metaphor of the Internet as a series of tubes (2006) is inaccurate, we can reasonably think of hyperlinks as the paths (or if you want to get sci-fi geeky: wormholes) through which we travel across the World Wide Web. Click a link and almost instantaneously you will move to a new page within a web site or—seemingly magically—to some new website hosted half way around the globe. In fact, the importance of hyperlinks cannot be overstated; there is no web without hyperlinks connecting one text to another (or more often, one text to many).
Hyperlinking goes well beyond simply adding “clickable words” to a text.
Jay Rosen from the New York University in the video clip of “Ethics of Linking” below explains it very simply:
The link, which is the idea, that you are interested in this, but did you know about THAT? Or HERE is what I’m saying, you should see what THEY are saying. You are here, but there is also this over THERE.
Analog text is traditionally linear, one dimensional and disconnected from other forms of media. Critical thinking and strategy skills are needed to include “higher order hyperlinks. A digital writer can
- emphasize (point their readers) to a virtual place or connect them to a specific idea and concept by choosing what kind of link to place in their hyperlinked text.
- mix form and content to open up different dimensions, making their writing non-linear, multi-layered and connected.
- use the hyperlink as a medium to convey her/his own train of thought
Hyperlinked writing is more than citing your sources, it is a direct manifestation of writing for an audience.
It shows the intent to guide the reader to:
- where the author has been
- his/her train of thought
- providing a framework and context of the content background.
- choices where to learn more
There are other reasons why we link digital content
- Linking is a form of content curation
We are placing specific resources and citations in the form of a
- Filtering and refining relevant content for our readers (3C’s of Information Commerce by Brian Solis)
- “The purpose of linking is to demonstrate to your audience that you are telling the truth.
By means of the link, you provide your reader with the means to check up on you, to verify your claims, to follow up on the sources you say buttress your case, to find out if they really do reinforce what you are saying.” (Bloodhound Blog)
Sometimes it is helpful to know how the HTML source of a hyperlink looks like too, although not necessary when writing your blog post with a WYSISYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) editor, such as the one in WordPress.