WTF is a "cultural context link"? #Editorial December 7 | Ariel Meadow Stallings offbeatariel Since the readership of the Offbeat Empire is hugely varied and diverse, AND we do a lot of writing about corners of culture that folks may never have heard of, my editors try to do this thing that I call "cultural context linking." In other words, the first time we mention any sort of cultural concept that we think some of our readers might be unfamiliar with, we link it to a website that can give readers a context of just what we're talking about. This can include stuff like: Media references, like "I'm on a boat" Regional slang, like naff Internet memes, like Rick Rolling Subcultural references, like diesel punk It feels like a really important thing to do, not just for our international readers who are like, "No seriously, wtf is Reading Rainbow?" but even for our domestic readers who just A) don't like feeling like they're on the outside of an in-joke or B) love learning about new things. The goal in each of these cases is to ensure that as many readers as possible can relate to the material, and that readers who are curious about the cultural reference can disappear down a little internet rabbit hole and go learn about something new. I totally get that inside jokes and winky-winky cultural references that only certain people get can be REALLY fun, but I think encouraging readers to get up to their elbows in some new cultural contexts is TWICE as much fun. Reporter Name * Reporter Email * Original text Enter the original text here. Edited text* Enter your suggested copyedit here. Notes You can add a note for the editor here. * Required information. Fix Typo Ariel Meadow Stallings Author of Offbeat Bride: Creative Alternatives for Independent Brides, Ariel acts as the publisher of all the Offbeat Empire websites. She lives, loves, and dorks out hard in Seattle, WA. @offbeatariel @offbeatbride PREVIOUS One more reason why I don't do giveaways Empire blogs NEXT The rapid growth of Pinterest as a referrer Show/Hide comments [ 9 ] YES! I love that you do this! It saves me so much time since I always get this overpowering need to know wtf people are talking about. 1 agrees Reply Ariel, THANK YOU for making my day with Reading Rainbow. If I have children, they will grow up watching some seriously old-school television programs. Additionally, thank you for the cultural context links, because I enjoy feeling "in" on things, but I like learning new cultural references even more. (It may be because my parents kept me buried under a rock as a child — I'm *still* making up for that.) 1 agrees Reply Reading Rainbow has the best theme song of any children's show EVER, I think. 2 agree Reply 100% YES! I love the linking… I've learned a lot about some really cool subcultures that I wouldn't have otherwise known about. Last Thanksgiving, I was the only person who could explain Steampunk to my very suburban in-laws. Thanks, Offbeat Empire! 1 agrees Reply …and now Justin Beiber has made a steampunk Christmas video. The brass cat is OFFICIALLY out of the bag. 1 agrees Reply Seriously, I LOVE the links. It's one of my favorite things about the Empire. Even if I'm completely familiar with a concept, I STILL click. (I'm a Wikipedia spelunker. Start at "MTV", end up at "John Locke".) And honestly, I think it's good for the comment roll. If you and your readers are replying to someone's query about an aside, off-shoot reference, they're not participating in the bigger discussion. Nevermind the mother fskin' boat I'm on, I just wanted you to look at the picture! 1 agrees Reply I think it's really important to loop people in. It makes an article/blog post easier to follow, and makes a reader feel more important when they know what all the references are. Saves people time, and doesn't take much more effort for the poster. I know I appreciate it! I agree with you Ariel on the theme song! Have you seen this? I just love it. Jim Morrison and the Doors cover Reading Rainbow 1 agrees Reply ahhhhhhh is it sad that I follow Levar Burton on twitter…not just cause of Star Trek! dude, hez a legacy! HAHAAHAH There was once an ART SHOW too, but i dont' recall the name of it…hmmmm. I'll have to find it. 1 agrees Reply THIS is how I found out about the 'I'm on a boat thing' and there went 6 hours of listening to lonely island tunes. Love them now, so thanks! 1 agrees Reply Join the conversation Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. No-drama comment policy Part of what makes the Offbeat Empire different is our commitment to civil, constructive commenting. Make sure you're familiar with our no-drama comment policy.