Thumb rule for using hyperlinks

In an excellent article Robert Cottrell makes a smart point about online writing:

It helps, too, that when you’re writing online, there’s no need to introduce and source every person, place and fact you mention, and no need to fill in the backstory for those new to the subject. You can link out to the source document or the related story – or just assume your reader knows how to use Google and Wikipedia.

It is very annoying to read articles that have too many hyperlinks. I think a thumb rule for hyperlinks should be: use no more than 1 hyperlink per 200 words.

PS: In case you can’t read the linked FT article, try this.

Do not track me. Do get it.

I’m a Google Chrome user and there are some add-ons on the browser that should really become part of it. The first one is AdBlock Plus and the other is DoNotTrackMe.

Yes there are people who survive on online adverts. I’m a journalist, I know. But AdBlock Plus allows for non-intrusive ads. This is the future of online advertising and the add-on is only accelerating us getting there.

And DoNotTrackMe essentially does what its name suggests: it stops tracking codes from gathering information about you. There are tens of trackers that want to know various bits of information about you to “customise your online experience”. Those trackers do no good and perhaps just slow down loading pages.

DoNotTrackMe also has an added advantage: it hides all the social button figures (the buttons remain in case you want to use them). How many times do you judge an article based on how many people have liked it or tweeted it and not on your judgement? It has become a sort of unspoken currency for writers. I think that’s terrible. Apart from deciding for myself what I want to and not want to read, I read what my friends recommend. If I don’t like it then I stop taking that particular friend’s advice. I’ve been using DoNotTrackMe for over three months now, and find it really helpful.