In yesterday's TGB story, several people posted links to websites that were only tangentially related to that post. I don't catch them all, but I generally police links left in comments with a heavy hand and I do it for two good reasons.
FIRST: Self preservation. Going way back to the 1980s and my earliest days online, more than one great forum I participated in was ruined and then killed by off-topic entries. And I'm not even talking about trolls. Just people with good intentions but who so cluttered the landscape with digressive information and links, the thread became impossible to follow.
Gradually, those of us trying to track the topic gave up and those excellent forums (I still miss them) dissolved. I cannot let that happen to TGB; I like you all too much.
One of the comments I deleted yesterday gave me the idea for today's post. Hilary wrote:
”Hope it's not too off-topic, but did you know you can read daily entries from the Diaries of Samuel Pepys (www.pepysdiary.com). Today's entry is for 12 Jan 1661/1662. I read him every day, together with your blog Ronni!”
Well, you guessed right, Hilary – it is too off-topic although I like knowing about me and Pepys together on your morning schedule.
Even so, that didn't keep me from deleting the comment. Yes, my post (Dear Diary) and Pepys (famous diaries) seem to be related topics but from my 1980s experience, I knew the link was permission for everyone else to leave links to all kinds of other places (like bunny rabbits, one link always breeds more) and before long, there would be no discernible thread left.
That brings me to today.
Pretty much by definition, everyone who hangs out here is a web maven. That we have Time Goes By in common means that we probably share other online interests but we undoubtedly diverge from one another too - widely, I would guess.
So today, everyone who wants to gets to leave a link to one of their favorite websites for the rest of us to know about.
You may share only one and it can be about anything at all. It can be related to aging or not, practical or silly, funny or serious, obvious or obscure, highbrow, lowbrow, fiction, news, research, politics, educational, arts, crafts, music, movies, TV, books, web video only. Even cute kitties.
Just please, no commercial or retail sites (certainly not your own; no advertising allowed) – unless it is the best bargain in the known universe.
Give us a sentence or two about why you like it and the link. And THAT – link – brings me to my second reason (see paragraphs one and two above) I delete unrelated links in comments.
SECOND: No naked links. Take another look at Hilary's link to Pepys diaries. It's naked – just a scratchy ol' web address hanging out in the open when it should be a live link.
Besides being ugly and useless, it clutters up the place - like leaving your towel crumpled on the bathroom floor. So today, I am going to show you how to properly dress a link so that it looks nice and functions properly. Don't get nervous – this is easy. Here goes:
The website I am sharing today is Credit Karma. You may have seen television commercials telling you it provides free credit scores, credit reports and a monitoring service and that is exactly what it is: free and useful.
I've been signed up almost since it began in 2008. I get one monthly email with a link to the latest reports (or I can stop by any time) and as far as I can tell, they haven't sold my email address.
That's my contribution; now the lesson. Notice how the words, Credit Karma, are themselves the link to that website. Here is how I did it:
The website I am sharing today is <a href=”http://www.creditkarma.com/”>Credit Karma</a> You may...
When you use that HTML code around the name of a website, including the web address), it becomes a live link when viewed in a browser.
You can use the same code, even copy it right from my example to insert into your comment. Just substitute the name of the website in place of Credit Karma and, of course, replace the URL (http:// etc.) too.
You can copy the website URL you need from the address bar in your browser when you are at that site. Make sure you are on the home page or the page you want us to see when we land there.
Watch carefully the carets, equal sign, quotation marks and that there are no extra spaces within the code.
That's it. It keeps the comments tidy and makes it easier for others to read.
Now it's your turn to share one favorite website with the rest of us. I know it may be hard to stick to just one but let's go with that anyway. If we like how this turns out, we can do it every couple of months or so.
At The Elder Storytelling Place today, Henry Lowenstern: Doing Doggerels