Linking on the Internet creates profound opportunity. It allows users to display their own information and accredit others at the same time. In our textbook, Foust discusses the 4 types of linking: deep linking, inline linking, associative linking and illegal linking.
Deep linking occurs when a user is taken to a page deeper into a site than its homepage. This type of linking creates convenience for the viewer and is quicker than using multiple clicks to reach the same page destination. However, this does decrease page views and the number of clicks by users, which is why website operators view deep linking negatively. For example, when a viewer finds them self interested in checking up on Kathryn Gavin’s tennis career at Minnesota State University, Mankato, a deep link could be used to get a direct update. If a deep link wasn’t used, the viewer would have to go to the MSU homepage click “Athletics”, click “Women’s Sports”, scroll down to “Tennis” and then view the article (a much more complex process).
Inline linking focuses on incorporating an image into the journalistic piece. It occurs when an image is linked without the actual file being copied. The kicker is, the image doesn’t belong to the journalist; it belongs to someone else, yet isn’t fully copyrighted. To allow for a freer flow of information and images, Lawrence Lessig founded the Creative Commons concept. Creative Commons provides an advantage when it comes to inline linking. Sites like Shutterbug, Compfight and Flickr contain Creative Commons images with various copyright levels, available for use by anyone. The downside to inline linking becomes a factor when copyrighted images are displayed without permission from the copyright holder or when images with all rights reserved are used as Creative Commons images. As with all types of copyrighted materials and plagiarism standards, journalists should not include any content if it’s not ethically or legally acceptable. To experience a player’s dedication to tennis a viewer may enjoy a specific image. This image was shared via Creative Commons on Flickr.
Associative linking revolves around reputation. If a user is linked to a website that includes links to degrading, inappropriate, illegitimate sites, the original site loses all respect and credibility. This type of linking is a touchy subject and should be dealt with carefully. In fact, court cases and prohibitions have resulted from associative linking incidents. Unauthorized uses of trademarks can easily destroy reputable sites. I see the Austin Catholic Community facing associative linking issues by linking to a contraceptive mandate, including a link that further suggests writing to Congress. I understand it is a pressing issue for both my hometown community and the Catholic religion, yet viewers may be intimidated or offended by being lead to such extreme congressional action. As mentioned in Chapter 12, excessive linking processes lead to less connectivity in the end. A Catholic family new to the Austin area may be disgruntled by visiting the homepage and following the extensive linking process, possibly causing them to seek a different parish. This would be a prime example of negative associative linking.
The final and most controversial type is illegal linking. We are all aware of the endless amounts of illegal material that exists on the Internet in today’s world. Under no circumstance is it legal, ethical or acceptable to link to infringing material. If or when an online journalist links to illegal content, the credibility gap widens, trust is lost and legal court action is likely to occur.If a journalist even links to a site, that links to a site, that links to a site, and so on, that includes a link to illegal material, the original journalist and site will lose the battle. To ensure I fulfill my graduation date this May, I will avoid an example of this form of linking.
Personally, I view linking as an opportunity for numerous uses. Linking is effective for informational, recreation, event, professional and personal purposes. In many cases, linking helps to prove points, back up statistics, share other views and lead to multimedia functions of all sorts. Instead of reading an entire page, the viewer is able to technologically interact via linking. Linking is a great skill to learn and quite simple once physically doing it. I am running in the Mankato Marathon 5K next week as part of the United Prairie Bank team. If the bank had not included a link directly to the marathon registration page (an example of a deep link), I may not have followed through on my initial interest in the event. This is just one personal example I recently encountered, which leads me to realize how much of an impact linking makes on a daily basis!