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Burning blog questions. January 23, 2013

Posted by ourfriendben in wit and wisdom.
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1 comment so far

What bothers bloggers most (besides spam)? Today, our friend Ben discovered two questions filtered out as spam by Poor Richard’s Almanac’s excellent spam filter, Akismet, lurking among this morning’s 21 spam comments, that I thought were legitimate. (I force myself to spin down the filtered spam comments every day just in case one happens not to be spam. This has only happened about five times, but still.)

The two comments were probably rote responses like most of the other spam. But they both bring up valid points, points that actually relate to the blogging experience and are worth answering.

The first comment asked about how we protected our content. The person asking said that he blogged and had been discovering his content copied (without his permission) all over the internet. I’m sure he’s not the only person who’s had this experience!

Here at Poor Richard’s Almanac, we make minimal effort to protect our content because it’s so quirky, diverse and personal that we can’t imagine anybody bothering to steal it. The one thing we do is to make sure that if some other blog or website wants to use our content on their site via a pingback, that the blog or website really does link back to us. Otherwise, we delete them.

However, Silence Dogood maintains a separate blog with very serious, original content that she feels passionately about. On this blog, she ends every post with a copyright notice: “Copyright [copyright symbol] [name of blog owner]. All rights reserved.”

By saying this, Silence isn’t implying that nobody can use her content on their own blogs or websites; she’s simply saying that they must ask her permission first, give her full credit, and link to her blog. And of course simply posting a copyright notice won’t keep unscrupulous people from stealing your content anyway. But it does give you legal grounds for redress.

The second question was different but equally valid: How did we get ourselves into the appropriate mental state to write our blog? The questioner was having trouble motivating himself to write and asked how we managed it. It’s a simple question with a world of complex answers.

The answer that springs first to mind for me and Silence is that we’re not morning people, yet we’re often up by 5 a.m. Writing our blog posts gives us a quiet, peaceful way to activate our brains and transition into our day. It’s a great discpline for two professional writers and editors, to compose an essay first thing every morning. We love it.

Another answer is that, in this out-of-control, crazy, hectic, overburdened life we all seem to lead, blogging is something that’s completely under our control. We decide when and what to post. We decide what we want to say, and how we want to say it. What a refreshing escape from having the boss or some pathetic committee or a bunch of lawyers or marketers telling you what to write or do and how to write or do it! Not to mention how long you’re going to be doing it. A blog has no deadlines, unlike most of life. You set your own deadlines, and if you don’t stick to them, no worries: This is YOUR blog, and you’re the master of it.

And there’s another answer, one that we love: Writing a blog puts you in touch with people you’d never otherwise meet. We love getting comments and queries from readers. We love the interaction. We love that the comments come from all over the world. This is the ultimate benefit of blogging, far beyond simply having a forum to express yourself: connection. It’s a gift, beyond anything the world has known before. To turn on your laptop and see that someone worlds away has not just read your post but taken the time to react to it is beyond awesome: It is humbling. It is wonderful. It should give us all hope.

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