The Value of Using Links and References
Let’s put aside « link posts » (like this one) for a minute or two; the time required to read this article. Recently, I noticed that the use of links in published content varies a lot from one author to another. Some bloggers or writers use a lot of links while others barely include any in their published content. I thought that was fascinating, and I started to think about my own links usage.
For example, M.G. Siegler, a well-known writer on Medium, does make use of links in its writing. Quite a lot actually. One prime example is in «Oh yeah, Intel. Nice! ». Another example is from another well-known author, John Gruber, in « Apple Holds Up ProtonVPN App Update for Two Days Over the Phrase ‘Challenging Governments’» . On the opposite, an article like this one, there is no link to be found. Here is another example.
Was Internet supposed to be about cross-referencing content, a mesh of knowledge? It was and it still is. Links come from researching on a subject, on a topic or event. They’re not free. They need some processing time to gather, read, grade, curate, comment and store for future reference. Links processing is worth it.
Personally, I’m a « put as many links as possible » type of guy. I would argue that references add value to an article beside the basic obligation of referring to sources. Links can refer to contextual information. They can also help support some justification for a given stance on a subject. They can help the reader better position an article with others on the same subject. Links are powerful.
Sure there is a risk of prematurely losing the reader as he might go read the referenced article, leaving behind my article, though. I think the added value is worth it, though. Are you still with me? Yes? Great. Thank you for reading this article.