When I first started using twitter people actually communicated in 140 characters. They wrote whole ideas that did not need a link to follow. It was headline communication. Now it seems twitter is a massive link broadcasting system. My impression of the current Twitter is that it’s more about sharing (promoting) links than bite size information. Some of my friends who are marketers never respond to me on twitter, but I get a whole lot of links from them.
Most of my business/marketing friends on twitter would think it’s a waste of time and a tweet if you are not marketing while on twitter. Although it can be a very soft sell. You could even call it selling without selling. But it does not have the same feeling of real sharing that it did in the early days.
My experience with twitter is shaping the linking policy on my Google Plus community. I would like people to get the majority of community information from the community not from a linked website. As Google+ becomes more popular it will get noisier.
The way G+ communities are designed makes them less valuable for link broadcasting than they could be. That same design element also means that important community news is difficult to see for the casual user.
One of the benefits and drawbacks to the community design is that posts go by in a stream of information. In fairly active community such as Dogs you may need to go thought 200 or more posts to see what happened that morning. Less now that I have implemented a new policy about picture posting. More on that in a future post. But, having content pushed down does makes it so link-litter gets buried fairly quickly. That is unless the volume of lint-litter increases significantly.
There are two YouTube Communities I belong to. One is well moderated and does not allow outbound links, the other is a free-for-all post as many YouTube video links as you like. The one with a lot of links is basically useless to all but people who want to post a link. Where do I share information and go to talk about YouTube, yes the one without links.
I did an experiment and lightly moderated the outbound links on the Dogs community for a day and a half. I did not allow spam, but I did leave links I would normally remove because of not following guidelines. There was a noticeable increase in link-litter and spam. During this time I also posted about the rules so those leaving links would have a chance to read about the guidelines. And I hoped come back to edit their posts. Not one post was edited to comply with the linking guidelines. I even left a message about the rules on one post and the poster responded with less than flattering remarks. Silly me, I thought they would edit their post.
I tried to be more considerate to those who wanted to post outbound links in the community. However after a day of being blog post friendly, people simply started ignoring the guidelines. I ended the experiment a half day early because I did not like where the lax policies were taking the community.
That little experiment led me to the new policy – no outbound links – except for a few of my own. No links is very easy to understand. I have found that people still have a hard time following even a simple rule. The no outbound link policy is also easy for me to administer.
When I allowed links I felt like I wanted to know where the links went to and what the content was like. I was always judging content which I don’t really want to do. Especially if those people are also in my dog blog community.
One problem with G+ communities is there’s no way to have a sticky post (we can now pin post to the top) at the top of the conversation. This means if people want to read the rules they need to go to the categories in the left side menu. Most people don’t even know there is a left column navigation menu.
You can read more about the community guidelines in the rules and announcements categories on the Dogs Community page on G+
What do you think? Are communities better with outbound links, or do outbound links just lead to link-litter?
Wishing you the very best in dogs and in life,
you can add me to one of your circles on G+ at
My dog training website is OCDogTraining.com