Thursday, May 15, 2008

So, has anybody else linked to a CNN story lately...

... and found a bunch of American commenters suddenly appear to talk about your post?

Well, my last post on the Edwards endorsement of Obama is up to 12 comments (OK, 14, but two of those are mine) which I realize for most of you is peanuts, but for me that's a lot of comments for a post that's only up to 9 votes at Progressive Bloggers. Plus, none of them were from people I usually see commenting on my blog, most seemed to be from Americans, and a large number of them were anonymous. It was all very strange to me at first. What gives? Where did all these people come from? Did someone somewhere link to me? Is there a big story about Progressive Bloggers on CTV or something?

Then, I went back to the CNN story that I had linked to about the endorsement. And low and behold, right there on CNN (the most trusted name in news) was a link to the post "Nail, meet coffin" right here at good old "Lord Kitchener's Own". I've somehow hit the (automated) big time. CNN is linking to me.

Am I unique that my reaction was at least partly, WTF?

As I said in the comments to that post when I realized what had happened, it is simultaneously amusing, strange, and mildly worrying. I know many people would be thrilled with increased traffic (especially those making money off ads on their blogs) but I wonder if CNN has ever considered that a casual little blogger like me might not absolutely love the idea of being linked to from a huge international news network.

Of course, it's CNN's prerogative to link to anyone they please, no question, but still. Do the majority of bloggers realize that the new "From the Blogs" feature of CNN means that by simply linking to a CNN story suddenly a link to their blog may very well appear on the CNN site? It certainly took me by surprise.

Again, not that it's not their prerogative, but isn't there a tangible difference between me linking to CNN and CNN linking right back to me? Is there not an inherent power imbalance that's a bit off-putting? Of course, by posting on the internet I'm throwing my thoughts out to the world, technically, but posting my thoughts on my blog is a bit different from posting them on CNN's site isn't it? (and if it isn't, should it be?). And does anyone else find it to be a bit strange that CNN has taken me from Point A to Point B without me even being cognizant of it until a bunch of Americans started commenting about a post they'd otherwise never have seen.

Not that I particularly object to being linked too, but I can't say it was a pleasant surprise either.

Frankly, it's a bit creepy.

One things for sure, I'll think twice before linking to a CNN story again. Do I want my story to appear to readers of If not, I guess I'll send anyone who reads the post to the Globe and Mail for more information. I don't think they've started linking right back to their readers.


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Woman at Mile 0 said...

I have also had this happen LKO and it generates a lot of hits. I have also had the MSNBC, the Washington Post and the CBC do this. They do it for lots of articles now. I think it depends on how fast you post as well as quality of the idea. I have noticed they update with new blog comments on the article as time passes. I think sphere helps as well. Once you publish its public and out there and nothing you can do bout who links to ya. Congrats on the extra publicity though!

Catelli said...

LKO, most of my traffic is generated by Google. My tar sands post generated more traffic in one day than all my other posts combined for that month.

All because Google pushed me to the top of the first page due to freshness of content or something.

Anyhoo, the news sites do the same thing, you get linked back more or less in order you link them. More people linking to a story will push you back into the general crowd.

Its the Internet baby, there is no privacy, there is no limit on popularity (or unpopularity as the case may be).

I know where you're coming from, it is disconcerting, but its not that threatening. You can always turn off the comments, delete the post, remove the link whatever.

And don't use your real name... ever! That's where my inner hysteria creeps in. It only takes one kook to spoil the fun of communicating and sharing through blogs. But that risk is part and parcel of blogging.

Sir Francis said...

Gee, if it's that easy to get the Yanks' attention, I think I might find a pretext to link to a CNN story. I would love to read American reaction to the stuff I've posted so far!

Catelli said...

Sir Francis, it would go something like this...

Dems some mighty big words in dat der blog!

Sir Francis said...

Dems some mighty big words in dat der blog!


Now, now--let's not be "anti-American"... :)

Catelli said...

Unrelated to the topic at hand, but LKO you may be interested in my current post. Its about the Bell/ISP/shaping controversy and the CRTC investigation on it.

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