Friday, April 10, 2009

The problem with Blogging: how do you link out?

The problem with blogging is bloggers have no certain understanding of what are the dimensions for fair aggregation or curation. Let us look at this problem in three parts:

1. What is the ideal way of linking out?
I think when you summarize someone else's post in a couple of lines and giving a link in between is the ideal way of linking out.

Some bloggers who are enthusiastic about certain topics, may summarize big blog posts using bullet lists or, as Valleywag did it with its "100 word versions". This is okay too.

However, there are bloggers and websites who go to the extreme.

2. Can sites that send traffic excerpt whatever they want?
Big sites like BoingBoing, AllthingsDigital or most prominently, Huffington Post excerpt huge amounts from a post. The underlying implication behind these is we are doing you a favor by sending you traffic". This idea of self-importance is a big problem and many bloggers are unhappy with the rampant scraping.

When big name bloggers pick up big parts of your post, an example here, so much so that their readers think the big name blogger has written that, this becomes a problem. Jason Kottke has written about this in detail here.

3. What are other aggregators doing?
Sites like Google News, Slashdot, Digg or Fark take a news item, and other than Google News, which is automated, put up a nice headline, add a one/two line summary and in case of Slashdot, a short juicy excerpt.

All the new media gurus are singing praises of curation as being the future of online news and I think these aggregators are showing us the way to link out.

What do you think? How do you link out?

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