Patience to reconnect broken hyperlinks

Ever come across an article or blog post where the hyperlink leads to a deceased web page? That is what I discovered when scanning through old web log posts.

Exhibit 1

How to keep your job in journalism

POSTED ON MARCH 8, 2008
  1. Create killer content
  2. Pimp your work
  3. Brand yourself

This from Jason Sandford, founder of Ashvegas and veteran reporter. I shared my summary [1] and linked to his blog post. However, the hyperlink at the end of the post leads to a web page that reads: “Sorry. The Squarespace account ashvegas is not available.”

After a bit of research, it appears that Mr. Sandford migrated the blog content from Squarespace to an impressive hyperlocal news web page.[2] After scrolling for a decade, I found the original post [3] and reconnected the broken link. Problem solved.

Reading his original post, I learned that he quoted from a Robert Niles article [4] published two days before he shared excerpts with his readers.

Exhibit 2

The Knife Metaphor

POSTED ON JUNE 13, 2008

I do not know who created the image,[5] but I did provide a couple source links.

The hyperlink to The Flowfield Unity reads: “Nothing Found. Sorry, but we can’t seem to find what you’re looking for.” Follow Aja’s link I read a similar note: “Well this is somewhat embarrassing, isn’t it? It seems we can’t find what you’re looking for.”

I used to follow Aja on Tumblr. That is, before I quit Tumblr. The proliferation of adult content by users and providers prompted me to delete my account.

Sometimes I re-posted an image with source attribution. Link love was the proto-social media expression and polite thing to do.

Exhibit 3

A 90-second GTD primer

POSTED ON AUGUST 25, 2008

Surprisingly, the 43 Folders hyperlink from my blog post [6] is still active. Merlin Mann shared this — abridged here — jewel during Google’s infamous [7] August 11, 2008 outage:

  • Project. Any desirable outcome that requires more than one physical action in order to be considered complete.
  • Next Action. The next physical activity I could perform that moves a Project nearer to the outcome I want.
  • Context. Any limitation, opportunity, tool, or resource that lets me do one of the physical actions in my Project.
  • The Four Criteria Model. The notion that Priority is only one of four criteria in deciding what to do at a given moment.

The full, original post is worth reading. Especially for young readers who may find it interesting that even Google has service outages.

Exhibit 4

Poetry, the highest form of art

POSTED ON OCTOBER 8, 2008

Posted this Guardian lead paragraph [8] on my blog.[9]

“Imagine living in a society where poetry was considered to be the most important art form. Where a poet could easily fill a football stadium. Where a poet’s death was the top news story for days.”

Not surprisingly, the hyperlink is still active. Even if the article is more than a decade old.

Closing thoughts

I expected to find a lot more dead web pages and broken hyperlinks than I did. The sampling from 2008 of blog posts offers insight into journalism and social media.

Social media is reactionary. At its best, social media sneezes an ideavirus [10] that is contagious. At its worst, social media spreads toxic influenc-za.

Journalism reports news and events. To provide a permanent record for this age and the generations to follow. Journalism informs and educates readers. When done well, journalism inspires.

It is an easy tirade to attack social media as harmful rather than helpful. Equally, it is simple to launch a screed against poor quality journalism. Especially when broadcast news makes it effortless. (Side note: I do make a distinction between broadcast news and print/legacy news. But that is a topic for a different day.) It is fair to say that both journalism and social media may effectively be broken. Like an old, broken hyperlink they need time and patience to reconnect to a valid source.

NOTES:


[1] How to keep your job in journalism, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/03/08/how-to-keep-your-job-in-journalism/


[2] Ashvegas.com.
https://ashvegas.com/


[3] “How to keep your job in journalism,” by Jason Sandford. First published March 8, 2008, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/06/13/aja-the-flowfield-unity/


[4] “Keeping your job in journalism,” by Robert Niles. First published March 6, 2008, accessed January 4, 2020.
http://www.ojr.org/080305niles/

[5] Accessed January 4, 2020.
https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/06/13/aja-the-flowfield-unity/


[6] A 90-second GTD primer, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/08/25/a-90-second-gtd-primer/


[7] “We feel your pain, and we’re sorry,” by Todd Jackson. August 11, 2008, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://gmail.googleblog.com/2008/08/we-feel-your-pain-and-were-sorry.html

[8] “Importing a passion for poetry,” by Sarah Maguire. First published October 6, 2008, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2008/oct/06/poetry.in.translation


[9] Poetry, the highest form of art, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://coffeehousejunkie.net/2008/10/08/poetry-the-highest-form-of-art-2/


[10] Unleashing the Ideavirus, by Seth Godin, accessed January 4, 2020.
https://www.hachettebooks.com/titles/seth-godin/unleashing-the-ideavirus/9780786887170/

Write now, set writing goals

...any road wil get you there.[1]

“If you don’t know where you’re going any road will get you there.”[1]

Is it writer’s block? Procrastination? What’s keeping you from completing that collection of poetry or that novel you started years ago and you can’t quite get around to finishing it?

A few years ago I sat in a writing workshop and noticed that I was the only member of the group under the age of 50 years old. Further, most of the students at the workshop had been working on a memoir or a novel or something that began at a university. Now enjoying their retirement, the nostalgic desire to complete these literary works grip those writers who had been dribbling out small passages of poetry and prose for what seems to be my lifetime.

I determined at that time to set writing goals and not let time slowly bleed me of creative efforts. So, I adapted some of the productivity and time management skills I use at work to my writing life. Here’s some productivity, or time management, habits I practice at the office.

1. Don’t check email first thing in the morning.

At the office, I schedule two times a day were I read and reply to emails: once in the morning and then again in the afternoon. If I reply to every email that lands in my inbox at the moment it arrives, I would spend more than half the work day reading and replying to emails. I found that if I batch tasks, like emailing, I can maintain focus on accomplishing those tasks more efficiently.

2. Make a list.

First thing I do when I get to the office is make a list. This is a combination of project management and mind-sweeping. This activity allows me to organize and prioritize large and small tasks for the day and week.

3. Declutter the desktop.

This is something that is both on- and offline. And by “declutter” I don’t mean empty your desktop of everything. Declutter has to do with a collection system. How do you collect the papers or files? Years ago I began the practice of collecting items in folders based on the 43 folders system. Here’s how it is presented by Merlin Mann:

  1. identify all the stuff in your life that isn’t in the right place (close all open loops)
  2. get rid of the stuff that isn’t yours or you don’t need right now
  3. create a right place that you trust and that supports your working style and values
  4. put your stuff in the right place, consistently
  5. do your stuff in a way that honors your time, your energy, and the context of any given moment
  6. iterate and refactor mercilessly[2]

Again, the goal of this practice is not to have a clean, empty desktop, but a productivity system in place to help get things done.

4. Plan. Revisit the plan. Stay on task.

Your co-workers and supervisors think every task is an emergency and everything is a priority. Planning and staying on task is one of the most annoying practices my co-workers and supervisors must endure. Yet, unless I identify the goals and chart a trajectory to hit those goals, I’ll never me able to meet deadlines on time or successfully accomplish projects. How does the old adage go? If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.

Let’s do this!

Avoid waiting until you retire to complete that novel you’ve been working on, or that collection of poems you’ve been tinkering with for years. Find a writers group that can help you with accountability and encouragement. It is written that no one knows the number of his or her days. Our life is a shadow.[3] Whether it is writer’s block, procrastination, internal or external distraction, find that writing project you’ve been working on and commit to finishing it.

NOTES:
[1] Source: This Isn’t Happiness, accessed May 8, 2013 http://thisisnthappiness.com/post/48296644589/any-road
[2] Merlin Mann, “Getting started with ‘Getting Things Done’,” September 8, 2004 accessed May 4, 2013 http://www.43folders.com/2004/09/08/getting-started-with-getting-things-done
[3] Shane Claiborne, Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove and Enuma Okoro, Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (Zondervan, 2010), 271.