Sgt_Kickaxe - 6:46 pm on Apr 11, 2012 (gmt 0) [edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 7:08 pm (utc) on Apr 11, 2012]
Hyperlinks have been deprecated as a ranking factor, both internal and external. In their place a mention is all that is required to make a connection between your site and another and the connection is made stronger when social signals back that connection.
example: You mention Tom Hanks in a post and Google associates your page with Tom's official site. Since you don't mention Tom often, or from most pages, your site is not about Tom and so you're less likely to be important to Tom related searches.
If, on the other hand, you mention Tom a lot and people who also mention Tom a lot also mention your site you are deemed much more relevant for a Tom Hanks search. No hyperlink markup required. This would be further enhanced by sorting sites that simply get mentioned a lot more often upwards in rank.
[edited by: Sgt_Kickaxe at 7:08 pm (utc) on Apr 11, 2012]