Marion's CCTE Blog

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Navigating Terra Incognita

In Linked, Barabasi describes how the Web is fragmented into four major continents due to the directedness of the links. Amidst this fragmentation, there is “terra incognita” (p.162), areas of the Web that remain undiscovered by search engines and are unreachable by surfing. He explains that Web is full of “disjointed directed paths” (p.167) that dictate the Web’s navigability.

Following Barabasi’s reasoning,, the strength of a webpage’s presence and accessibility is almost exclusively dictated by the number of links attached to it. I’m still unclear, however, about how important it is for these links to be relevant to the website’s objectives or target community. Is there really value in establishing links between sources that are inherently unrelated? For example, if I get 20 opera singers and 50 ice-cream truck drivers to link their personal websites to the blog developed by West Siders for Responsible Development, will that really help the organization in any way? Will this linking alone rescue them from the “terra incognita” that Barabasi describes?

The answers to these questions will help me plan my next course of action with my issue entrepreneurship project. I have gotten very few responses from organizations whose interests I thought were very similar to those of West Siders for Responsible Development. Is it better to keep pursuing those organizations or to broaden my efforts to organizations and individuals whose interests seem only marginally aligned?

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