Will Deep Links Ever Truly Be Deep?

The buzz over linking mobile apps obscures links’ true potential: to create profound networks of knowledge and share power more widely

Scott Rosenberg
Apr 7, 2015 · Unlisted
Google Trends graph for “deep links”

How the Web Was Linked

The link as we know it on today’s Web comes down to us from a long tradition of deep-thinking people.

Knitting Mobile Together

Taking Back Our Thought-Trails

Not everyone has run up a white flag and abandoned claim to those networks of semantic relations. Vannevar Bush’s broader vision — of technology that lets us map and share the “associative trails” of our thoughts and ideas — lives on, however imperfect the tools and limited the results. Deep-linkers of this ilk are enthusiasts of the software niche known as “personal information managers” — the kind of tools that Howard Rheingold used to call “brain amplifiers.” (His book Tools for Thought remains a prescient chronicle of this field from its earliest days.)

All That We Leave Behind

Passively, thoughtlessly, each of us could be building Bush’s Memex every day — with every click and swipe on our devices. The links we follow, the pages we read, the photos we tap and the messages we send tell the story of our lives and the thoughts that fill our heads. But this information profile — the record of our use of the Web and the cloud — is mostly out of our reach. It’s available to the companies that build and run our services to analyze and mine and sell stuff to us, but it is rarely similarly available for us to access and share for our own purposes.

Backchannel

Mining the tech world for lively and meaningful tales and…

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Backchannel

Mining the tech world for lively and meaningful tales and analysis.

Scott Rosenberg

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Covering the Web since 1994. Backchannel. NewCo Daily. Wordyard.com. Say Everything. Dreaming in Code. Grist. Mediabugs. Salon. Berkeley, CA. Real person.

Backchannel

Mining the tech world for lively and meaningful tales and analysis.