The principle behind linking is simple, but also a bit of a culture shock to many journalists who have spent years working in competitive environments.
If you see something else someone has written which you like, link to it. Let your audience see what you’re reading and where you’re getting your information from.
So far, so simple – but then along came the idea of the ‘reblog’ to muddy the waters.
And I can’t decide if it’s a good thing or a bad thing.
I blog using WordPress and, when logged into WordPress, I get the option to ‘reblog’ any post I see on another WordPress blog. Until last weekend, I’d ignored it, largely through ignorance.
then Vicki Kellaway, a former colleague at the Liverpool Daily Post and Echo – and author of the brilliant Bananaskinflipflops travel blog – shared a link to a post on the Sweet Mother blog. It’s a brilliant post which goes through the thoughts you have when you’ve crafted a post, published it and waited … and waited … and waited for a reaction.
My reaction was to press the reblog button, just to see what happened. The result was that the first couple of paragraphs appeared on my blog, as though seemingly a post I’d written. Once you’d clicked from the home page to the post page, you got a couple more paragraphs and then a link to the Sweet Mother blog. Oh, and it imported a picture from the Sweet Mother blog.
Because I have Twitter and Linkedin auto-updates set up on the blog, this is what people finding my blog from Twitter will have seen:
To me, this somehow felt wrong. I’d pressed one button and was now getting traffic to a blog post I’d played no part in writing, and wasn’t telling people was something I liked, or wanted to share, rather than crafted myself.
So I deleted the post – but then noticed the author had left a comment on the reblog saying thanks for reblogging it.
So this is my muddle. On networks such as Tumblr, there has always been the principle of reblogging – it’s a quick, short blog service which is as much about sharing as about ‘original’ blogs. On WordPress, or long-form blog sites for want of a term to differentiate, do readers expect work to be your own, unless it’s a ‘links of the day’ post?
I may just be thinking about this far too much – but having dealt with multiple occasions where work has been ‘lifted’ from one source to another – but there’s something about the idea of pushing one button and getting more readers as a result which doesn’t sit right.
What do you think?