Linkbaiting is dead: Why social media needs to kill the FUD

Summary:While we might think it's acceptable to try to scare each other into reading, we likely should consider who we might scare out of buying

Did I get your attention?

Linkbaiting, of course, is not dead. Nor is Twitter, nor blogging nor IM nor public relations, nor any other service or social media trend that has been blindly pushed to an early grave by overzealous bloggers.

OK, perhaps communicating via stone tablets is dead...

Linkbaiting, however, is getting a bad reputation and its because it's being abused. Sure, anyone who writes a blog or runs a Web site wants to improve his or her SEO. However is it worth the few extra links into your site to operate with FUD-based headlines and conversation starters -- thereby potentially jeopardizing your credibility?

The idea for this rant started this morning when Chris Brogan posted on Twitter that he weighed in on the "Is blogging dead?" piece that Fast Company published in response to a flagrant WIRED Magazine article. My comment was:

"I've started to automatically discount ANY blog that claims ANYTHING is dead. Tired of the FUD / linkbait."

It's true. If I see a "is XYZ dead?" type headline or even a conversation on FriendFeed, I won't even go near it. I find FUD blogging to be lazy and unfounded. It's one thing to predict the future of a software or service but it's another to declare one dead only because you feel happy and fuzzy about a new one -- which is what seems to happen most of the time.

Social media is in a dangerous position right now. We're facing a down economy. Social media is safe and warm inside the Silicon Valley bubble no more. Companies are questioning whether or not social media or social software is a worthwhile investment. So while we might think it's fun and acceptable to try to scare each other into reading, we likely should consider who we might scare out of buying.

Update 10/23/08 5:49 p.m. -- For those not in the know SEO is Search Engine Optimization and FUD is Fear Uncertainty Doubt.

Topics: Social Enterprise, Browser

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