Links and Linking

So, as NM noted, wordpress has started sticking links at the bottom of posts.  They say that it’s about helping to drive traffic to blogs.  But between this and that feature that pops up the tiny previews of the webpage you’re about to go to, it’s enough to make me encourage folks to just retire to the safety of their RSS reader.

I don’t like it.  I don’t guess I mind that it gives you related posts of mine, but, to me, links indicate endorsement and when WordPress puts links on the bottom of my content, it looks like I have read those posts and think you should to, and that’s not true.

I’m ready to be persuaded otherwise, if people like it, but I’m giving it a couple days and if I don’t see the charm of it, I’m turning it off.

But traffic…

I don’t know.  I’ve been thinking about this thread over at Chris Clarke’s and I do think that there’s something to be said about carefully considering whether turning folks’ attention to someone is always a positive.  Is having more eyes really that important if those folks aren’t going to read

I don’t normally read Feministe, but I’ve been following things over there and trying to think about the implications for how we… for how I do things.

It’s funny (not funny ha ha, but funny weird) that I can articulate to you that I think things are fucked up and I want something different, but that I don’t trust myself to know what that different will look like, that I don’t know that I trust that, in my fucked-up-ness, I can dream big enough for what a better future will look like.

And yet, the other day, I was emailing Mag and I was all “I think what we have to do is…” like I’m going to be the general, or Moses or whatever.  I am not the leader. 

And more importantly, if I know it is fucked up how I was trained as a white woman to run around trying to smooth things over and coddle everyone and make nice, and if I know my own tendencies to try to appease abusive people in order to soothe them and try to de-escalate explosive situations, I’ve got to stop trying to appease, smooth over, coddle, smooth, and make nice.

I’ve got to be willing to let people’s pain and anger remain unresolved in the way that I’m used to seeing resolution, because how I see resolution is often deeply fucked.

I’m kind of meandering yet again, but my point is that more linking doesn’t, in and of itself mean anything.  More hits doesn’t constitute more blessings.  Buying into this idea that we should all strive to be popular and read seems to me to not be a small purchase. 

I mean, every day I come in here and I see that I have at least fifty more folks who got here looking for “Hermaphrodite porn.”  That post is, by far, the most popular post I’ve ever written.  Right now, it’s had 8,536 views.

I don’t regret writing that post.  Rereading it reminds me of a fun evening with a good friend.  I don’t have anything against porn, except, as I said, that no one in the porn I see ever seems to be having any fun.  I think porn featuring actual hermaphrodites might be very hot (if they seemed to be having fun) and I think that porn featuring women with dildos glued to their “ovary place” could be hot, too, again, if it seemed like they were enjoying themselves.

But, at this point, with that post being three years old, and with no new comments since it first went up, something about that 8,536 just grates on me a little bit.  My second most popular post, the open letter to Jesus’ General, during the incident that led to the demise of NiT as I loved it (yes, Christian, I love you too.), I’m fine with having out there as a representative piece of writing for what I do here.

Love me or hate me, agree or disagree with me, but, from where I’m sitting, I feel like, if you’ve looked at that post, you both have a sense of who I am as a person and a blogger, how I’m bringing a very localized lens to focus on larger issues, and how I situate myself in the world.

You read that Hermaphrodite Porn post, you’re looking for hermaphrodite porn on Google and it brought you here long enough to realize there wasn’t any hermaphrodite porn.  What the fuck does that matter to me except to know that all my blog stats are inflated every day by a hundred readers who aren’t actually reading me?

I do not give a shit about those people.  They do not count, in my own mind, towards any standard of judging whether my blog is “popular” or “important.”

So, on the one hand, yes, I see the benefit to having an easy way for people to explore other writers who might be writing about this stuff, even if those links aren’t endorsed by the author of the post (especially if everyone understands that they aren’t), but it also seems to me that promising authors more eyes doesn’t really mean much if those eyes don’t lead to thoughtful readers.

19 thoughts on “Links and Linking

  1. My blog isn’t doing this yet, but I did find where you can go to your settings (Go to “Dashboard”, “Design”, then “Extras”) and check the box that says:

    “Hide related links on this blog, which means this blog won’t show up on other’s blogs or get traffic that way”

    See if that makes them go away.

    Hope it helps! :)

  2. I’m not at all familiar with wordpress, but in general on the stats, for those of us who accept advertising, the numbers do make a difference.
    The people who handle my ads insist that all their people have a minimum amount of page views per week, because the people who purchase on this “hive” as it’s called…for liberal blogs, often make a purchase of all the liberal blogs on this network. So from Kos down to me, you’ll often see the same ads…though we are paid very different prices for obvious reasons. But the buyer knows that even the low person on th totem poll is getting X amount of views a week.
    Anyhow, in that context, the amount of views matters to some bloggers.
    FYI, I am sure your numbers are high enough to be part of this network, and if you want to accept advertising as part of the liberal blogs network, email me and I will sponsor you.

  3. Thanks for pointing this out, because I just turned that puppy off. If I want to link to related posts, I’ll do it myself, thank you very much.

    Sharon, free WordPress doesn’t allow ads.

  4. Sharon’s explanation makes me glad i just blackmailed all the liberal advertisers to pay me to blog, and not trash their businesses in the process.

    I make a living.

  5. If anyone is wondering how to turn it off, go to your Dashboard, click Design,
    and then Extras. It has a checkbox that you can tick to get rid of this “feature.”

  6. Mack,
    “I make a living” sounds like you think there is something wrong with making a living from blogging.

    I spend at least 30 hours a week researching stories and going to session when it’s in session, talking to sources I’ve had from 3 decades in one form of the media or another, and I don’t see anything wrong with getting paid for that.

    Because I refuse to take money for the documentaries I do to help people, I simply don’t understand why you would have a problem with someone working hard and getting paid a small amount for it.

    “I work for a living” sounded quite condescending. I work for a living,too.

  7. “I make a living” is the actual quote from Mack.
    First, sorry for misquoting you.

    I didn’t come here to argue with anyone. I was sincerely trying to help B., since from time to time she talks about being broke and thought this would be a way that I could help. She works hard blogging, and is a wonderful writer and if someone wanted to pay her 50 a week to put their ad on her page, then that’s a good thing. If she objects to the ad, she could turn it down, though that rarely happens since the hive is for the bigger LIBERAL bloggers.

    So please don’t turn this into a “let’s gang up on Sharon” thing.

    If you have a problem with me making money blogging, please email me. The last thing I want to do is cause a problem over here.

    I was trying to help.

  8. Sorry, Ginger, I missed it while freaking out with a case of computer stupids. It takes me forever to find the answer to “how do I undo this thing that I didn’t ask to be done in the first place?” and I find it aggravating to have to waste time doing it. Not that I’ve been updating my blog very frequently, for various reasons. I felt so clever for figuring it out that I had to share.

    But now everyone has been good and told, uh-huh. (It’s been one of those weeks in my life…)

  9. It’s been one of those weeks in my life…

    hehehee…it certainly has been around here, too…

    I hope next week is more sane for all of us!

  10. Sharon, sorry if you misunderstood. I was implying that I couldn’t follow your explanation because I;m a bit of a Luddite. I thought your explanation was helpful to those wondering how blog ads work.

    Actually, “I make a living” is a punchline from a favorite joke I heard when I was younger…some people will catch it, some won’t.

    I sure as hell wasn’t calling you out or attacking in any way.

  11. Oh, and i should ad that i applaud the fact that you or anyone gets a little dough from blogging. I actually have had periods of time when i was compensated for doing it. No judgments here.

  12. Mack,
    My apologies to you for misunderstanding. Please understand that sometimes I’ve had good intentions online and somehow they got all turned around and I got really hurt.
    I admit I am overly sensitive to that, so again, I apologize for assuming you meant the worse.
    Thanks, :)
    PS–That all being said, I believe B could get ads if she wants ads with the network I’m in, and again, I’d be glad to sponsor her. So B, if you’re interested, E mail me.

  13. Sarcastro,
    So the Queen B should be in this hive! ;)
    Actually, I’m the last person who understands all this jargon. A while back someone sponsored me to get with blogads, and as it turns out, they have what is called different hives…like I knew what that was. But my numbers were high enough to join the liberal blog hive, which is the biggest one, though I am somewhere close to the bottom. Still, a lot of advertisers, say a campaign, will buy all the blogs on advertise liberally, so that’s why you’ll see the same ads on my site as Kos.
    To the best of my knowledge, Randy Neal, Egalia and I are the only Tennesseans in this hive. I am sure B. has high enough numbers to qualify for this, so why not pick up 50 a week per ad? She may be able to charge 75 or 100 a week per ad depending on her numbers.
    But yes, the Queen B needs the hive! :)

  14. Hi Aunt B,

    I was linked by a racist site because of the similarity in some keywords. I’m also wary about being linked by MRAs and conservative South Asian sites (another link came up from one of those). This feature is doing no good…

  15. FireFly, thanks for the head’s up. That was my fear–that racist heathens might get linked to (or have me linked from their websites), but then I thought, surely they must have thought of the problems that would come from this.

    But no. If you had that happen, it can happen, and I don’t want it to happen to me. So, off they go.

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