The Art of the ReBlog

Ever since the blog post about posting other people’s content without permission, the concept of sharing blog content has been weighing on me.

On the one hand, there are blogs and people who wish that you visit their blog so that you can read their content.  Particularly when they earn money via advertising, it’s to their benefit to serve up advertising and also to keep track of the analytics of their blog so that they can report a large number of visitors.

There are other people that blog for a hobby, to share their learning, to promote this and that.

I guess I’m in that second category.  It’s not that I don’t like a large number of readers; it’s just that I don’t need them for financial reasons.  In my case, I think I’m pretty liberal should anyone else to use the content from here elsewhere.

If you check the about page on the blog, you’ll find my wishes:

I just ask that you attribute things to me, don’t use it commercially, and don’t edit the content.  I can make enough mistakes on my own.  That should give enough latitude for proper reuse.  I encourage those who I’ve interviewed to report to their blogs.  I even think it would be nice for a district to share the interview on their website like they do other good news media stories.

There’s an even more liberal approach and one of my favourite Ontario bloggers, Donna Fry, goes that route.

When I make reference to other blogs, I always do my best to ensure that I give credit to the original author by only taking a snippet and making sure that there’s a link back to the original.  My “This Week in Ontario Edublogs” series is an example of that.

I like to think that it completely honours their work, gives others a highlight of what I’ve read in the previous week, and gives me a chance to comment on a topic in public usually for something that I wish I’d originally written.

The process takes a bit of work.  First, I have to read the post and I actually start the post for the upcoming week on this blog.  I’ll paste the URL to the post and throw down a rough idea of what struck me as noteworthy from the post and then schedule it for the upcoming Friday morning at 5am.  Then, on Thursday, I’ll revisit the post and decide what I’m going to say and create my actual post.  I make sure that I don’t just copy/paste their entire post.  From my perspective, it’s important that the reader links back to their original so that they get the content and the original author gets the statistics hit.

There’s actually an easier way – WordPress has a “reblog” feature.  If you are publishing on WordPress, you can show “reblog” as you see fit in the configuration.

I also have WordPress configured to let me know a number of things that happen to this blog.

It makes for a noisy mailbox but there’s just something nice about knowing that someone, anyone has interacted with the content.

WordPress also has a built-in reader/curator for you – on the web or standalone for Macintosh/Windows.  I have many of the blogs that I read tucked away in there so that I don’t miss their content.  There’s so much that you could read.  I even have this blog in the reader so that I can read it in the reader.  How’s that for redundancy?

Reblog is built right into the reader.  So, suppose I stumble on another post and I want a copy for myself.

I can just share it on my own blog.  Or, quite frankly, if you want a copy that only you can see, start a private blog and just share the content there.

So, back to Donna.  Recently, she shared a post about Digital Identify and Mental Health.  It’s an important and interesting read.  I would encourage you to read it when you have a moment.  In it, she shares her presentation materials.

By using the reblog feature, I would get this

Recently I have been fortunate to be asked to present at two different venues (Refresh2016 in North Bay, and the DSBONE Professional Learning Day) on the importance of understanding how digital identities impact mental health in teens, and where we as educators can find resources. Here are the reading slides for this topic.

via Mental Health as a Priority: What’s Digital Identity Got to Do With It? — Learning About Learning

That could appear on my public blog, should I desire.  Or, if I’m tucking it away, it might appear on my private blog for future reference.  I like what she’s doing here and it’s something that everyone who works at the Ministry should be doing – being very visible about their activities and sharing their thinking with us.  The official word can come in the form of a formal document with the trillium but it’s nice to see her thinking on a regular basis.

Most importantly, all that’s contained in the reblog is just another snippet.  You’ll notice that the reblog contains a link back to her original post.  That way, she maintains ownership of the content, her blog holds the complete post, and she gets the analytics for the visit.

There’s a great deal of benefit to sharing information this way.  It’s a real art and I think that it can only serve to enhance the blog of anyone who chooses to use it.

We all have different networks of readers and it would serve to expand readership – providing that the original author approves of it.

And the best part, is that you never lose track of it.  It’s posted on your blog.

Check out these articles if you want more detail about reblogging.

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