Rumours of Surfing’s Death

Mark at Mashable proclaims that we can’t surf the web any more. Here’s some of the evidence he offers.

In the blogging world, everyone is concerned with PageRank and who gets the TechMeme headline, that they’re too afraid to link to someone that could be viewed as a competitor. At the service website, a certain level of hubris is required so that all links must lead inward – you allow the user to see a link that points away from your site, and you could lose that user, and blow your ROI (and if you do send them away, make sure you target _blank!). All of our web experiences become informational cul-de-sacs.

I don’t agree: as evidence against the above, consider the very blog is was posted on. Mashable itself is pretty good at linking, even to competitors – perhaps especially to competitors. And when Mark linked to an analogy between browsing and channel surfing, he didn’t tell my browser to open a new window.

And of course Google, still the success story of the web, doesn’t hesitate to send its users to other sites, and doesn’t open new windows when it does so. I’ll stop now before I describe Google as surfing 2.0, or as a smart remote control, or something like that.

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