Bloggers stealing from each other?

Andy Hadfield has mentioned what he sees as bloggers "stealing each other’s traffic" in a recent post and in his talk at the 27dinner the other night. I chatted to him briefly and I understood that he sees this as a bit of a problem in the local blogosphere. I imagine he may argue that local bloggers should ideally focus on creating original content of their own rather than simply referring to each other in a seemingly endless feedback loop.

To an extent I agree with this observation. I was chatting to Rich…! a short time ago and he mentioned a similar concern, namely that many of the bloggers he reads repost or refer to each other’s posts and you find that there may be little original content on a given day because of the echo chamber the local blogosphere becomes that day. I have often blogged about something a fellow blogger has posted (in fact it is probably fair to say that much of my blogging is derived from other bloggers – this post is another example) and while I can appreciate the concern, I also think that this is what blogging is about. Like anything there needs to be moderation.

Some of the key features of blogs include the ability to link to other blogs and make it known that you have read that other blog post and have some thoughts of your own. This is where the difference can be made, I believe. It is one thing to simply link to another post and have that be the extent of your post and quite another to link to it, talk about it and then add your own input. I subscribe to a blog called Social Media which often just has a link to another post or article. In this way the site basically becomes an aggregator and adds little to the ongoing conversation sparked by the post it refers to. The first type of blog post doesn’t really add much to the conversation and I believe that blogs should primarily contribute to a conversation in a meaningful way. The second type of post does make a contribution to the conversation but it is far less meaningful because all it does it pass the link on. It doesn’t add a perspective to the link or give you any indication what the author’s opinion might be.

Ultimately I believe there is a place for both types of posts and their value will come down to what you, as the user/reader, finds valuable. Me? I prefer posts that have substance to them even if they rehash another post. I like to see what other people think about posts and I often pitch in too. On the other hand there is something to be said for drawing attention to a post that someone publishes. That is also an important part of this global community we have going here. As for trying to tap into other blog’s traffic through trackbacks or comments, I don’t think that is such a terrible thing (not talking about comment and trackback spam – that stuff gets nuked immediately).

What do you think?

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