Tracing Footsteps On The Web


Or : a journey through time and space, via the humble hyperlink. A recent post at reminded me how important links are for online interaction, and yet how often they are overlooked or under appreciated by less savvy web writers / publishers. Obviously links are economically important (more in-bound links for a site = a higher google ranking), but there’s also a significant social dimension to links. Why do the better sites take a lot of effort to ensure they reference their ideas, and provide links to everything they mention? Sure, they understand it often means the site linked to, will often link back to them – but more importantly, it helps make the web function better for everybody. As illustrated by the following single link :

“Web Comic Guru Interviewed”
What we have here is a talkshow host who thinks impersonating a hyperactive foghorn is a good interviewing style. Thankfully the guest, web comic artist Nicholas Gurewitch manages to avoid being steamrollered and retains some integrity throughout. Mostly this is of interest, if you’re familiar with his comic Perry Bible Fellowship, which has recently made the transition from adored web comic into sold-out-book-and-people-are-knocking-at-my-door-for-movie-scripts-etc. But it also serves the purpose of letting us explore the social value of links. Where did the video come from?
The above video link was within a post that explored the PBF rise to fame, and discussed the reasons for Gurewitch’s recent lack of web-activity ( hey – a pilot tv show for British TV, remastering the book for re-prints, working on a feature script etc – keeps you busy! ). I’m not subscribed to the monkey site, but I found it through a subscription to : is the site of Andy Baio, a software developer, whose steady stream of eclectic ( well, eclectic within the mostly tech/online ballpark ) and succinct links and commentary quickly found its way into my RSS feeds. Where did that come from?
The Kottke radar stretches out to include the design world, the arts, cinema, tv, with perioidic snapshot reminders that the world is a very strange place. Although posts are longer than waxy’s, they are similarly succinct, regularly appearing and well written, drawing the reader into merits of a particular topic. At one point, Jason Kottke’s popularity could be measured by a one weekend donation drive, where he asked his readers to donate, so that he could concentrate on blogging links full-time and gave up his designer job for a year. He raised an annual income in one weekend, but later returned to design work, claiming the paid responsibility of blogging changed it’s nature for him. Found via:
“A directory of many things”, co-curated by a busy bunch, each contributing their particular thread-flows of interest. Pointed to many mooons ago by:
After a certain number of emails were ping-ponged, projects were intersected ( ask him about DIY rocket-launchers ), and because he was the Australian based editor of:
Back in the pre-corporate mall days of the web, this site emerged as a repository of alternative culture / politics / weirdness in general, albeit weighed down by a conspiratorial component ( the overall mix kept it worthwhile though, and nice being kept on your toes ). Founder of the site, Richard Metzger produced a cool spin-off TV series at one point, and is currently guest blogging on boingboing ( noticeably ramping up their weirdness ratios). Found via…
Marcus was one my the earliest pingers of links, and although his current site is relatively fresh ( and not where I would’ve discovered, I’ll credit him as the first link in the chain here, given his infamy as a 20th century bean-cans-and-string-modem-type-hacker.

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