hyperlinks are becoming a currency in the digital age, but one limited to those with the power to create and destroy them.
i went to a friend’s web site recently (URL withheld to protect the "innocent"), and noticed that the link to my home page had dropped off his blogroll. what??? dropped me from the secondary navigation? had i slighted this friend in some unbeknownst way? was some kind of digital payback going on? granted, it was kind of petty of me to care in the first place, but hey, links matter if you want people to read your site. and why would i write on the web if i didn’t also hope that people would read?
it then occurred to me that links have become a form of currency. i’m probably not the first to say this. in fact, i’m probably about the 10,000th. but links matter to people.
link reciprocity is a term i’ll use to describe the you-link-to-me-i’ll-link-to-you phenomenon. i’m sure someone else has thought of that one too [pause—google search—ok, yeah, here is another blog about the exact same damn thing].
that guy i just linked already thought about it and wrote a lot on this topic. i’m not gonna write any more. you get the point. 😉
ps: do you think he’ll link to my site because i just cited him?
pps: he mentions in his intro that this phenomenon is not new. it has been happening in academia for years. of course, i should have realized this, since it used to happen to me all the time when i was in that world.