Addition or Distraction?

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Links: harmful or beneficial to an article? Or can they be both? For a reader who is extremely interested in the article they are reading and is disciplined with their link usage, links can add a lot of useful information and help to expand on a topic. However, if an article is too link happy and it is being explored by someone who can't resist not exploring a link, links may distract from an article instead of help support it. This especially occurs when the links included in the article lead to sites filled with other links, and so on. When this happens, I feel myself paging through everything website in the Internet. So, with this assignment, I decided to perform a micro experiment to show an instance of when links can distract from rather than expand upon what an article is talking about.

On the Wired.com website, I clicked on a link to an article titled Music: Too Expensive to Be Free, Too Free to Be Expensive. This article was discussing streaming free music vs. paying for downloads. I noticed at first that it was very link happy, with links scattered in several places throughout the entire article. So, for my experiement, I decided I would click on the first link on any page I would encounter to see how distracted I could become.

The first link I clicked on this page led to a You Tube Video about how one executive of News Corp Digital was answering a question on the topic. I watched the video and found that it did add helpful information to understanding the topic. I was able to return to the original article without having been distracted from the topic.

The next link in the article I came to led to a site with another article. Imeem Not Closing, Though It Wants New Label Deals had its own article which again was link happy. I began reading the article, searching for how it related to my original. Before I was able to make a solid connection however, I found my first link to click on.

This link led me t o a site called Listening Post's Top 10 Hottest Music Sites. At this point, I was becoming distracted from my original topic. Although this site wasn't relevant to what I had been reading, I figured I would still check it out. Once again, there were plenty of links in the article to chose from, so I selected which one came first.

This link led me directly to the Imeem main page. On this site, I immediately saw a link for music, so I clicked. And....magically I ended up even farther away from what I had been reading.

Now I found myself on a site called New Music Tuesdays....and do you know what it was encouraging me to do? Stream music, basically for free. I couldn't download and keep any of the songs on the website for free, but I could definately listen to all of the songs and artists on it for free as long as my browser was open to the site.

At this point, after tracking through several websites, I decided to end my experiement. What did I discover? Something that surprised me. Although I did feel distracted when looking at the links in the articles that appeared in the middle of my experiement, the final website I found myself on wasn't necessary talking about the subject I had been originally readind about, but was encouraging me to do something that had been talked about in my original article. This forced me to think back to the original article I had been reading and made me begin thinking about some of the concepts I had already read in it. It also encouraged me to open up the original article, finish it, and compare it to the situation the last website presented me with.

To conclude this, a lot of links can lead to distractions from the article, but they also provide opportunities to expand upon the information being presented, even if it is in a roundabout way.

Back to class

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