Blog Pile

Yin Yang of Sharing / Open Content

It’s been a fruitful reading of those so-called dead blog scrolls this week– Scott Leslie has liad out a strong missive in Planning to Share versus Just Sharing and just across the bay from Scott (well farther this month), Brian Lamb is posing some tough questions like Am I missing the point on open educational resources?.

I’ve been muttering around that after years of simmering on the sidelines, there is something abuzz this year on open _______ (content? resources? pubs?).

In general, reluctance I have seen on sharing involves what I think are greatly exaggerated fears (“someone will STEAL my stuff and MAKE money”, “they will steal my stuff”, “they will steal my stuff”) in comparison to the order of magnitude larger positive things that are enabled by open sharing (but not as much highlighted). I do not discount that miscreants and greedy theft has happened (lifted web site content, photographs re-purposed without credit. etc), but on the scale of Good vs Bad is it really significant?

On the other hand, being the Open can be a double edged sword one learns to live with (or develops ulcers over). This is but one tiny example that happened to me this week.

I am exploring the fabulous content creation tool Flowgram, which among many features, lets you assemble narrated guides to web sites, or import Powerpoint, image media and republish as a flash player. So I am browsing the content, and I see something that looks familiar:

Lt Uhuru issue a Red Alert! Set Comment Phasers on annihilate!

Someone named Powerpointer has posted MY CONTENT. I fire up the comment box and am ready to fire off a nasty missive.

And ten I stop. It has my name all over it. No one will think PowerPointer created it. That person does not make the claim. In fact, their profile on flowgram says:

There’s amazing powerpoint preso’s out there that can become Flowgrams with the click of a button. Here’s some of my faves.

And even more. Powerpointer got my slideshow from where… I had shared it openly in Slideshare. and provided the original as a download. I had not theft case to stand on. Yes, and it was attributed, so I can really now say it was stolen when it was free to re-use.

In fact, it is nothing more than flipping my slides; it lacks audio (which you do get in the Slideshare/Slidecast version), and honestly is (IMHO) a poor substitute for the full presentation I do in person (and about to record myself in Flowgram).

In the end, I had accidentally stumbled across my own work out there (wow that looks familiar)– but I put it out there. So when you share openly, it is going to places you will not know about, there will be times when you don’t get the credit, and rarely someone my appropriate it on your own– all of that needs to be balanced agains the positive connections made, and accepting that the original work I do and build is going to be much more stronger than what some small time theft can damage.

Your online reputation is everything, and it is your actions that most that maintain it. So share, share often, share openly, and just accept that there is a negative side to the positive, but keep their relative scale in genuine proportion.

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so)


  1. Once talked with Chuck Vest, former colleague and then Pres at MIT, about the then new open course work program. Asked him wasn’t he giving away MIT learning and disenfranchising his faculty. His response was an excellent parallel to this blog. “If the course is only the media content then we should be giving away the faculty member!” Right on Alan… we sure won’t give you away.

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