Changing the World by Linking to Socially Friendly Sites

A bit of a do-gooder tip here, but when a main story gets cited by bloggers many of us tend to link at the same mainstream media source, thus voting for that source as the best article on that topic, when it is often the first perspective we found, but not the best.

When considering who to link to, it is worth it to take a minute or three to do a few news searches and blog searches to find better articles from sources that are more trustworthy than the mainstream media.

Why Research Many Sources?

At the very least you learn how similar various sources are, how influenced they are by public relations, and learn a bit of background on the topic. At the best this will not only make you more educated, but will also help you shape the web, and what articles others will cite going forward, which is especially important when you consider how concentrated and deceptive the media is (like firing their workers for being honest) and how much fraud there is in business.

Right now some sleazy agricorp companies are creating self destructing seeds, using rBGH in cows (which provides exactly no benefit at all to consumers), and at the same time the FDA is mulling the idea of selling cloned meat (without requiring labeling).

How to Find Other Sources:

  • Check out a few of your favorite blogs or alternative media sites on the subject.

  • Check meme trackers such as Techmeme, Megite, and Tailrank to look for others talking about the subject. Technorati also offers topical meme tools and blog tags.
  • Search Google News, Yahoo! News, Topix, and other popular news sites.
  • Search major search engines for a key quote from the article wrapped in quotes to see who is syndicating the story and who has quoted it.
  • Create a Google Custom Search Engine which you seed with sites you personally trust. Search it for their past takes on keywords related to the theme of the story.
  • Check out social news and bookmarking sites to find related stories and trusted sources, either directly or recursively. Start with Digg, Reddit, Newsvine, and
  • Look at the Wikipedia page on the topic. If the topic is controversial ensure you also look at talk pages about the topic.
  • Find related topics and keywords using keyword suggestion tools.
  • See which bloggers are linking to the article in question by searching Google Blogsearch and Technorati. For example, to see who has recently linked at the SEO for Firefox extension download page I would search Google Blogsearch using link: and search Technorati for Those may give you other sources which may be worth citing, and some other people discussing the same story may also be linking at other sources. It should also tell the story from a different angle or perspective unless the bloggers are parrots.

Change the Web & Change the World:

With each word you read or write, each sentence, each page, and each link, each of us are helping to shape the web every day. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

Published: December 31, 2006 by Aaron Wall in internet


January 12, 2007 - 12:02am

In the interest of compelling content, and to encourage a wide range of thought pertaining to ANY subject, I find myself looking for at least 2, hopefully 3 different views on the subject at hand. In this way, I have given my thought, but offered up other "colors" for your review. Just a thought.

December 29, 2006 - 12:45pm

Google blog search is fast (the link from digital point to your firefox tool is 5 hours old) but since when has digital point been a blog?

December 29, 2006 - 2:48pm

I think if you first hear from one source it is only fair to link to the source that first alerted you to a story (I tend to use source: or via: ) but prominently link the *best* source. Sometimes people write a lot of rubbish but without them you wouldn't know what is going on.

December 29, 2006 - 5:12pm

Can anyone tell me what is the big deal with self destructing seeds?

If you want them you buy them.. if you think they are not worthy of the price you just don't buy them.

Why don't people protest against fertilizer? It too can only be used once :)

December 29, 2006 - 9:08pm

i'm particularly fond of and these days. i'm really happy that i can use my blog juice to help them out. i hope more people do what you recommend.

December 29, 2006 - 10:09pm

Good suggestions. If you're citing a story you want your post to add some kind of value not found elsewhere. That's hard to do if your information is coming from a mainstream monolith. A little extra research can improve your content, help promote independent views, and do a bit to keep the bigs more honest.

December 29, 2006 - 10:11pm

Actually, the need for overuse of fertilizer is another thing engrained into the DNA of many seeds as well. And when oil prices increase and fertilizer costs more to ship, that also has an economic impact on the profitability of farming.

The self destructive seeds is easier to talk about because the offensive connection is more direct and easier to see.

December 30, 2006 - 4:48am

"Why don't people protest against fertilizer? It too can only be used once :)"

Certain people do. Try buying a large supply of it and see who shows up at your door.

December 31, 2006 - 2:25am

Great advice Aaron. I'll make this a new year's resolution. The story changes as it gets blogged about and the landscape changes quickly. After you've seen a few posts it's much easier to see the angle you should take. Gotta love the cluetrain manifesto.

January 1, 2007 - 7:44pm

Just so you know - Posilac, the rBGH hormone that is injected in more than 1/3 of all cows in USA, was totally rejected by Health Canada, which has a much less politically driven agenda.

Monsanto, the company behind rBGH, is also behind Agent Orange (VietNam bio nightmare who's been enduring for 30 years now), Aspartane (substitute to Sugar that is on the way of being proven the most dangerous substance (cancer wise) if taken in large quantities...

Monsanto is the biggest petrochemical company of the planet - and probably the 1st company that should have all of its leader shot when we finally decide to clear Earth of everyone ruining it.

January 1, 2007 - 7:50pm

The economist above me commented:

"Can anyone tell me what is the big deal with self destructing seeds?"

Really, in 2007, do we really need to discuss how much of a big deal it is for African to have to pay Monsanto yearly fees by buying seeds... and on top of that, the fact that if you don't use Monsanto's own fertilizer, your seeds won't grow as much?

Do we really need to justify the fact that this company is like a legalized BioHazard and ruthless company?

I mean, you can manufacture weapons - at least we know you're going to kill someone. But have seeds that force people who can't even eat to repay them yearly? That gets very, very low in the ethical chain.

And if any African can read that, there were also studies that went out saying you shouldn't care about Monsanto and that you should use your own seeds, they were proven to be even more effective than the ones from major petrochemical US companies.

January 1, 2007 - 8:28pm

"do we really need to discuss how much of a big deal it is for African to have to pay Monsanto yearly fees"

Your core argument is flawed. Africans are not forced to buy anything. They are froo to choose.
Like you have an option to buy my $300 a year 1 page ebook. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

January 1, 2007 - 10:53pm

Great post, I would cite the orginal source, ie the small website doing the good in the first place

People should use their "juice' to help some non profits out this year I bet you will be suprized at how much positve PR you get.

Self destructive seeds are insane just another way the man is trying to hold us all down and build profits for themselves.
Fertilizers if organic based will help rebuild the soil, the chemical stuff is crap.

January 2, 2007 - 9:20am

Economist I have to think that you are in some sort of comment trolling contest or are unaware of the world around you.

It is easy to talk about how free willed others are from your keyboard. Much harder to hold that same conversation with a straight face with starving people in front of you, right?

January 2, 2007 - 8:57pm

I am trolling by describing basic economic principles?

Well I guess I will stay out of the debate. I mean what could an economist contribute to the debate about economics...

January 2, 2007 - 9:07pm

Oh sorry, you posted an answer in another post:

"Education is a system of imposed ignorance."

Well, we'll have to agree to disagree.

January 3, 2007 - 12:04pm

Linking to reputable sources is always a good thing. Especially for your long term ranking and visitor experience. But nowadays you have to watch out with every link you place on your website!

Every link to you and from you gets associated to your website. If you link to a couple of spammers that happen to have one page with good content, you're still linking to spammers. Raising red flags by linking to spammers could hurt your ranking.

If you link to a site because the information is good for your visitors and you are not sure if you should trust the source linkwise. Use nofollow, or even better no "real" link at all.

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