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Saturday, June 19, 2010


C3PO: “Etiquette and Protocol Robot”

A great deal of the internet is populated by C3PO wanna bees. If you ever watched a Star Wars movie (and who hasn’t) you know the shiny gold robot named C3PO whose purpose is “etiquette and protocol.” The internet has developed its own system of etiquette and protocol. One of these is an abhorrence of what is referred to as “link whoring” which is defined as encouraging people to click on your website. According to this protocol the internet virgin is supposed to sit demurely on the sidelines, knees tightly together, until she is spotted by a search engine like Google.

This phenomenon was one I recently experienced at one of my favorite sites, FreeRepublic. This is a great website on which anyone who is registered can post and thus has an incredible number of links to major and minor publications, often with excerpts to those publications. A number of years ago the site was sued by the LA times and the Washington Post for re-publishing entire articles. FreeRepublic agreed to use only short excerpts and link to the majors, thus creating more traffic for the newspapers.

“FR” as it’s known to “Freepers” gets about 250 thousand views per day, making it a big deal, and rightly so. For comparison, another very popular site for conservatives and Libertarians “Instapundit” hosted by Glenn Reynolds get about 35 thousand daily views. Reynolds is virtually nothing but links to other sites. My site, on the other hand, gets 500 to 600 viewers a day making my contribution to the national political discourse small. But at least I contribute.

I will sometimes post part of an essay or article that I have found and posted on my website, The Virginian, on FreeRepublic with a link to my website. I usually check to see if the item has already been posted on FreeRepublic (don’t want to clutter it with duplicates) and if it hasn’t I may post it if I think it has general interest. FreeRepublic has a “blogger and personal” area where bloggers and people who use Blogspot are directed by the moderators.

What some of the people who go to FreeRepublic find objectionable are links to blogs or websites that are not “big time.” Thus Michelle Malkin (90,000 hits daily) is good because she is big time, but The Virginian is not because I post a few things during the morning or evening. The NY Times may be the antithesis of what FreeRepublic stands for, but links to the NY Times abound. Google and its wholly owned subsidiary YouTube is preferred as a link rather than the same video embedded at The Virginian. Thus the C3POs, with their dated protocol and etiquette are supporting the ideological opposition at the very time when they should be supporting alternative media. By objecting to links to blogs, they are busy lining the pockets of the MFM and the Leftist at Google and YouTube.

I find it ironic that FreeRepublic , which started at a time when the alternative media was in its infancy, should now be the home of people who are trying to enforce a protocol that actually stifles the alternatives that are springing up around the internet. It should be encouraging them.

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