Several people the past few weeks have been asking this question. Is getting a link on a well known site so important that you would be willing to put your integrity at risk? Would you be willing to be less critical of that site just because they linked to you? Does anyone feel that this would be important enough to censor yourself? In my case I think the answer is very clear. I won't sell out for a link. This isn't to say that I may not sell out for a price. I'm not saying that I don't censor myself. Because except for today. There are many days where I don't say what is on my mind in the very direct way I would like. Anyone who has an uncensored face to face moment with me. Will tell you I tone things down here. Why? Because if I didn't I'd never have any advertisers willing to be displayed here. So in that regard I do sell out just a bit. But to do this for just one link would be ridiculous. Although from my reading the past few days. I think some people have undervalued the power of certain links.
Even though you may not get direct traffic from a site that links to you on daily basis. Just being linked on certain well known sites helps you out. Why? Because of things like Google PageRank. The more well know sites that link to you the better in regards to your overall web popularity within certain search engines. This gives you a slight advantage over sites that don't have this edge. Some search engines will put a higher value on your content do to this. That allows for your content be considered more frequently and gives it a slight advantage when being spidered for the search engine index. I've seen the effects of this many times over the years. Even with sites I have linked to.
So if your a local online writer should you sell out just to be linked on the State Journal Register website? My opinion is no. Not because it won't benefit you. Because even if you don't get daily traffic from their site the link does benefit you overall. My opinion is don't sell out just for a link because then your readers know they can't trust you or your opinion. I have many companies I'm affiliated with. Which means I resell their products or services for a commission. This doesn't effect the overall price you pay by the way. Even though it might risk my relationship with these companies. I'm not afraid to be critical of them when I feel they deserve it. If I did any less my readers would know that I wasn't being truthful with them. Anyone who has read here a long time knows I call it like I see it. I'll report the good and the bad.
This is why you won't finding me saying anything nice about the State Journal Register just to get them to link to my site. If the State Journal Register actually understood the internet and had the integrity they swear traditional media does. They wouldn't punish local online writers for speaking their minds. Although this is what I personally feel they have done. Which is interesting to me. This local newspaper is critical of many things and many people on a daily basis. To the point of offending some people. Should local online writers not be allowed that same privilege? It's ok for traditional media to be critical but not online writers? The State Journal Register will not link to popular local online sites that may not share that newspapers viewpoints? Granted they have a disclaimer when you apply to be linked to. Yes they are well within their right to do this. Several online local writers refuse to link to me. Which I actually find funny and childish. Because even though I may not fully agree with and in the case of one site I don't even like the person who runs it I still link to them. Why? Because they have valid content and on occasion have a few gems worth reading. So I overlook my personal views and link to them. That is only one example. Under my I read these sites link I have several sites listed for people I don't like personally. Or at least I'm not fond of – yes I reserve the right to change my opinion on this. I link to these sites however not for the hope of PageRank help. But do to the fact that I find what they write about helpful or worthwhile.
The State Journal Register's bias is nothing new though. I've seen it time and time again. Where I found it most interesting is when Dave Bakke was interviewing local writers about the fact if they were actually valid and he ignored me. Why do I find this interesting? Because the question he was asking is something the creators of the blogging phenomenon were asking in 2003. The exact people that were on the A list – the people who have the most to gain from hyping this technology. These same people were asking if what was just starting to get major hype from traditional media was already dead. My point is I was in the same room with these people having this debate. Arrogant as it may seem to some. No other local writer from our area was there. Even though the conversation was taking place only one state over and for only $100 a ticket. So my question would be this – why would you ignore me when your doing an article on the subject for the local paper? Because you had no way to contact me? That can't be the case. Considering one of their reporters has all my information and has interviewed me. Another person who freelances for them is more than aware of how to get in touch with me. And I do have some contact information on this site. Or heck do as Amanda Reavy did. Leave a comment and ask me to contact you.
What does all this tell me? It tells me that obviously there is a bias. It also makes me feel that the paper doesn't fully want to show all sides of the story in a fair manner. We all have our spin on things. But there is a fair way to present things in an honest straightforward manner. I'm not sure this is always done in our local newspaper or in our local news media at all. I try to do this by linking to many articles on a subject I cover if possible. If my readers here take advantage of that they will get many opinions to help them form their opinion on the subject. People who reader here don't have to just base their opinion on mine. I try to give them multiple sources to make up their own mind. This is an advantage not fully possible in the offline world.
Does the State Journal Register not linking to me or even asking me for a quote now and then make me less important or not relevant? Not at all. I'm linked by some of the biggest names on the internet from time to time. Although the State Journal Register gets more internet traffic than my site. I don't think for one of the little guys with no advertising that my 1.5 Million pageviews last year is anything to sneeze at. Yes I know many sites that get this in a month easily. I rub elbows with many of those people once a year. Sure is interesting that the State Journal Register wouldn't find me or my site good enough to talk to or link to. You'd think that interviewing someone who has been in the same room with the people who created the technology your interviewing people about would be reporter basics 101. Unless you actually have a bias against this person. About the only reason I could see for not including me in the conversation. For the record if you think I'm blowing smoke out my backside about the conversation in 2003. I'll be more than happy to try and get Chris Pirillo here to confirm the conversation that took place. Gee Dave Bakke why didn't you interview Chris or many of the other interesting people that are being linked to here?
The more interesting question is this. Why has the State Journal Register refused to link to some of the most popular local online writers from their blogroll list? Yes I'm aware of my recent comment about the blogroll. And it is true. Many of the people Dave Bakke ignored when he was trying to prove that online writers aren't relevant. Many of those same people who aren't local writers have been debating if blogrolls are actually relevant anymore. Many of these people feel the usefulness of the blogroll is outdated. Some of these people are the same people who were asking if blogging was fading out or had died out in 2003.
So why have some of the more local writers been rejected? It can't be do to content. Because some of the local writers that have been linked to cover some interesting topics from time to time. The only reason I can think of is someone is playing favorites. Which means that a bias in fact does exist. I guess if you work for a competing newspaper or you are critical of The State Journal Register this means your not going to get linked. This just shows that the local newspaper still doesn't understand how the conversation is supposed to take place online. It also makes me question how fair and truly objective they are in their reporting of the news.
Interesting how someone who has rubbed elbows with many of the people who created the technology many of us use on a daily basis isn't good enough to be linked from a newspaper blogroll. Does this make be better than those that haven't rubbed elbows with these people? No – not in the reality of things. It does however give me perspectives that many of you can't have. I've been able to learn about new up and coming things way before the traditional media even starts whispering about them. Many of the things traditional media hype are things many geeks have hyped a year or two previous. Traditional media still hasn't learned how to get in on the conversation as it happens. No matter how they would like to spin it. They are stuck in the old way of doing things.
No matter what your opinion may be on mine. The one thing I think that is very clear. Is that traditional reporters don't play fair. Although they have one thing in common with many of the popular A listers online. Arrogance and egos.
How many years have traditional media sources been saying that online media is dead? How many years now have we been seeing online media grow? One last thing. How many years have we been seeing traditional media trying to imitate what they are seeing happening online? The interesting thing here is this though. Even the traditional corporate online media have been trying to mimic the less traditional writers and what they have been doing. What interest me is this. How can traditional media not understand that what is being done online is nothing different than an editorial. It isn't what it is that is important. What is important is how it is done and how it is implemented. Blogging is nothing different from what well paid traditional writers do on a daily basis. The difference is the conversation is done online and we are open to criticism in real time.
Everyone has stated time and again that those that write online aren't held accountable. Which is far from the truth. Our readers and counterparts do their best to keep us honest. Can this really be said for traditional media? So if those being ignored by the State Journal Register are doing such a bad job getting it right. Then how come the online community isn't letting those writers know that? My bigger question is how come the sites that have been included in the SJR blogroll aren't asking why the others have been ignored? I'm sure many will read this and think this is all about me. Honestly with or without a link I'll do what I've always done. In most cases at the end of the day I will come out on top. What this is about is keeping it honest and keeping it real. Right now I'm not sure the online community is doing that. We know without a doubt that the offline community isn't.
Alert alert. The SJR blogroll has someone on it who used to work for the Illinois Times. That doesn't count? Since as far as I'm aware they no longer work there. She says bad words a lot on her site. So I guess that isn't why some of the others have been rejected. Because at times Grace Uncesored is a bit above PG-13. And yes I read that site often and have no ill will etc. I was just trying to make a point. I'm also really trying to find a valid reason for the other sites being rejected other than a bias.
Does the State Journal Register have a blog bias – Iggy Uncensored
State Journal Register embracing the internet – Iggy Uncensored
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