As hoped, I already got some bark backs on “This A’int No Blogging” Part 1: If a Blog Falls in the Woods…. And as rightfully pointed out, comments are not all there is to being part of the blogging community- see the well thought comments just made by Stephen Downes — noting the pitfalls of comments (if you get too many you really are unable to respond and have a life) who I think anticipated the next bit of froth I intended to post today:
More precisely, there are bloggers who are (more or less) well integrated into the network, and those who are not. Those who are more integrated are more like those academics who, as well as publishing to journals, actually read the articles other people have written, and reflect this in their own work. They are like those people who attend, and listen to, presentations by other people, in addition to showing up and giving a talk of their own.
Stephen hits an eloquent point on what is the blog equivalent of “listening” to other bloggers (reading other blogs and reflecting on their own) and providing those connections via linkages, trackbacks, whatever used to connect what you write on your blog to what someone else wrote elsewhere.
This was my focus for part two- a practice I refer to as “echo blogging”. it has happened numerous times that I get an email notice that a trackback “ping” was registered on this blog- meaning someone on their own blog has written something that is a direct reference to something I posted here. Especially if it is from a blog I have not visited before, I am rather curious to see what someone was written that is connected to something I wrote about.
We seek connectedness, right?
Sometimes I find on this other blog is just a post with the same title, a paragraph yanked from my post, and a link. This is fine. It is flattering. But a number of times recently, what I have found is the whole piece I have written (actually rarely more than a few paragraphs) completely lifted and posted on Blog X.
I am not hankered that someone has “stolen” my words (after all I get the credit, and my words are worth, well dog poop). No I am more annoyed that they have merely echoed, that there is no context, there is no “this is why I think what Alan wrote is important” or “this is why Alan is such a loser…” or “this is how Alan’s ideas are related to my own…”
I guess there is some of Stephen’s listening gone on in their lifting of my words. But to me, the real blogging is taking that snippet of news from elsewhere and writing your own reflections above, below, or around it. There must be some reason why the author of Blog X chose to link or lift my story- why? What is the connection? What is the relevance?
And worse, as educators, should we really be modeling this behavior? Isn’t the concern we had when CD-ROM encyclopedias came out in the 1990s and the web today, that students would merely copy and paste works from sources and not synthesize, not weave a thread, not draw a conclusion of their own?
So to me, echo blogging is merely regurgitating and not adding much to the pile of knowledge and ideas out here.
If you blog about something elsewhere, share why the heck you have done so. Share the connection. Share what is relevant or not. If your blog supports it, learn how or make sure your entries are sending Trackbacks to the source. If you lack that, make sure you provide hyperlinks to relevant content, or to the source, or to multiple sources. Link often. Create more connections not just echos, Find your own writing voice. Believe me, your words and ideas are just as interesting as the new clip. Even more.
If you are just copy/pasting news from elsewhere, to me you might have a weblog, but ya ain’t blogging.