The worldwide web up until now has relied on the hyperlink. Being able to bounce to related articles as we came upon them was likened to catching a wave in surfing, hence web-surfing. Page and Brin later relied upon links to indicate a vote of confidence in content as part of their first iteration of what became Google.
Later, a whole etiquette built up around liberal linking in blogs; to sources and to influencers. The most obvious aspect of this is the blogroll.
I came across the concept of delinkification via Nicholas Carr’s blog. In it he talked about leaving text free from links, instead where necessary grouping links at the bottom of a posting. Apparently this is to free the audience from the distractions of surfing, or at the very least the nagging curiosity of what lies behind the link and instead keep them focused on the article. It is alluded to in the meme ‘we surf the internet. we swim in magazines‘
You could also argue that delinkification is a direct measure of the blogger’s conceit and self-absorption – turning every blog post into an academic essay.
The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine by Sergey Brin and Lawrence Page
we surf the internet. we swim in magazines – over at the Blankanvas blog run by Goodstuph’s Pat Law
Experiments in delinkification – Nicholas Carr