Benedict Evan's tech newsletter seems to believe many (tech-interested!) readers don’t know what links are, and can’t recognize them, without the “Link” label:
i wonder if that’s an issue with FI newsletter
My reactions in order
1) that can't possibly be a significant issue, can it?
2) you should test it
there’s no good way to test. 280 newsletter ppl. suppose 5% don’t understand links. that’s only 14 ppl. these ppl are less engaged than avg, presumably by a lot. so maybe 3 open the test newsletter, and maybe none of them would have clicked any links today even if they knew how
however, by similar logic, it’s not that big a deal
plus i have in fact explained how links work in at least one newsletter
plus there are sometimes more obvious links to clue ppl in who aren’t TOTALLY lost
like maybe they will realize “Buy now” is a link
and from that learn what all the other links look like
if they are too dumb for that, well, i am not planning to do ALL my links as a post-sentence “Link” text just for the small minority of my worst subscribers
even if it’s like 50% of subscribers … are they really the kind of ppl who matter to me and understand anything i say?
and do they know how to buy things online? or join an email group? or even post a blog comment? zzzzzz
or share the newsletter with their friends? you know by sending them a link? or forwarding an email?
i’m still curious how widespread a problem it is. i bet more than .01%. hard to get a good estimate tho
lots of ppl are really, really bad at things
ppl “forget” they can google things
that is partially a skills issue
a lack of understanding of the very basics of the internet
ppl also seem to DISLIKE links, in many contexts. which i think is partly skills. not, primarily, failure to know what a link is. but instead things like: being bad at using the Back button, getting lost online easily, and fear of going to a malware or scam site and being unable to recognize it
and just generally being bad at understanding what’s going on on a new website they haven’t been to before, b/c they aren’t familiar with standard layouts, and they don’t know how to recognize if it IS a standard layout or not, or otherwise quickly figure out what to make of it (including accurately knowing when to judge it as a bad site and just leave)