Linky Party Like a Dinner Party?

A linky party is when a blogger uses a widget to allow others to post content on their blog. A person participating in a linky party usually leaves a link back to a specific post in their blog, and often an image. It can be a great way to promote your blog. In return, the linky party hostess often asks for some kind of recognition, often in the form of a link back.

I find that often the best way to explain a large complex idea is to use an analogy. So, in an effort to help explain my take on linky party etiquette,  I’m going to compare linky parties to a dinner party. Because we’ve all been to a dinner party. Or heard about one. Or seen one in a movie. And besides, I love putting together a good analogy. And then stretching it further than it ever should have gone…

Feel free to tell me in the comments if you agree, disagree, or want to stretch this analogy even further!

Food at dinner party

Dinner Party: My friend has an open invitation for all of her friends and neighbors to come to her house for a weekly dinner party. Every Friday night, we can show up between 6-8pm for food and conversation. She always makes sure to put on some fun music, and creates a warm welcoming environment. She asks two things of us. 1) That we bring a home-made dish to share. 2) That we take some time to mingle and chat with the other guests.

Linky Party: My friend has a linky party on her crafting blog. Every Friday we can post a link from our blog onto her linky party. She always -makes sure to have a fun theme, feature bloggers or posts from the prior week, and makes it fun for everyone to join in. She asks two things of us. 1) That we link back to her blog in our post. 2) That we visit some of the other blogs that have linked up.


Dinner Party: At her last dinner party, there were a couple guests who came and pigged out on all the food that everyone brought, but hadn’t brought anything to share!

Linky Party: At the last linky party, there were a couple bloggers who linked up, but didn’t link back.

Why this analogy works: When you link back to the linky party in your post, it does several things. First, it shows up as a link to the hostess’s blog, and helps her traffic. Second, one of your readers might see the link and follow it to the party, allowing others to join in. If you’re too busy to run by the store to pick up a cake and try to pass it off as home-made, maybe you’re too busy to come to the party.


Dinner Party: There were some guests who came straight from work and didn’t have time to bring something home-made. They went to a drive-through and picked up some fried chicken to bring to the party.

Linky Party: Some of the bloggers who linked up either had the link back to the party in their sidebar, or on a “linky party page.”

Why this analogy works: The dinner party hostess asked for home-made dishes. The linky party hostess asked that we link back to the party in our post. In both cases the spirit of the request was honored (bringing something to eat/linking back), but not the specifics (something homemade/linking in the post). And, different hostesses will see this differently. Many will be glad that you came to enjoy the party, and brought a dish to share. For some hostesses, when they say homemade, they mean it. Know your hostess, or e-mail ahead. Some even think that a permanent link in the sidebar is more visible, and therefore prefer it (hey, everybody likes fried chicken, right?).


Dinner Party: A third guest brought a dish to share, stayed for a quick meal, then left without talking to anyone.

Linky Party: A third person linked up to the party and linked back, but didn’t visit any of the other blogs that had linked up, or leave comments on those blogs.

Why this analogy works: Linking up to a party without sticking around to check out the other links isn’t very social. And that’s what linky parties, and dinner parties, are all about. Hang out, stay awhile. See what other guests have to offer. You might leave inspired to work on a new project – or make a new friend!


Dinner Party: There was another guest who was party-hopping, and went to 50 different parties that night!

Linky Party: One of the bloggers who linked up was also linked up to 50 different parties!

Why this analogy almost works, but really falls flat: If you go to 50 parties in one night, you’re going to be exhausted, and not have your full attention at any one party. Some will argue that if you link up to 50 linky parties, you’re not going to be able to visit other bloggers and be a good guest, but some will say that they can. Personally, I think it is tacky to link up to dozens of parties, and like to pick 3 at the most. But, maybe I’m just jealous of people who have the time to visit all those parties!


Dinner Party: There was a guest who brought a lasagna they’d taken out of their freezer. It was yummy, though! They’d made it from scratch using a home-made tomato sauce from home-grown tomatoes.

Linky Party: This blogger linked up to the party using an older post from their blog, but one that fit the theme, and they edited the post to link back to the party.

Why this analogy works: Sometimes, especially with themed linky parties, you have the perfect post to share… but you wrote it several months (or even a couple years) ago. Just like a frozen lasagna, blog posts can have a fairly long shelf-life. Some hostesses might prefer the dish you bring (or post you link) is fresh, while others don’t care when it was made – just that it is delicious!


Dinner Party: There was a guest at the dinner party who made it a point to go to each of the other guests, shake their hand, pass over a business card, and then move on.

Linky Party: This blogger visited the other blogs in the party, and left each a comment with “So cute! Come visit me sometime at (insert blog link here).”

Why this analogy works: We’ve all met the party guest who makes the rounds with the only purpose being to promote themselves. It happens in real life, and on blogs, and it is always obvious.


Dinner Party: After last week’s dinner party, my friend got a thank-you note from several of the of the guests.

Linky Party: On the last linky party post, my friend got comments on the post thanking her for hosting the party.

Why this analogy works: Either as a hand-written note, or a blog comment, we all like knowing we’re appreciated.


Your turn! Did this analogy work for you? Did I stretch it too far… or do you want to try your hand at stretching it even further?

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