My colleagues will recognize the picture from a different post on a different blog of mine. Considering that my readership consists of my supportive coworkers and a few supportive friends, the image I imagine, should be met with “really, you couldn’t find a different picture?”. The razzing that I’m expecting is well deserved. While I’m a person that holds the belief that there is nothing-new-under-the-sun, I definitely believe that bloggers should take a healthy jab at originality. Let me save you time and sum up what I’m about to say: a blog consisting purely of reposts is lazy, insulting, and terrible.
First, I want to clarify something. A site that dedicates itself itself to pulling posts from various blogs is an aggregation site. A blog aggregation site is different than a blog. I’m concerned with blogs that perform the function similar to aggregation sites, but are still blogs. When a reader goes to an aggregation site, they do so with either a topic in mind or they wish to browse different blogs. Blogs consist of posts written and published by bloggers aka authors. A reader going to a blog site does so to read the specific content published by the blogger. It’s like wanting to read your favorite author as opposed to browsing an anthology. Both aggregation site and blogs have distinct purposes as mediums, but both rely heavily on the content being published.
I’ve come across several blogs that looked promising. The title was catchy, the post titles interesting, but low and behold, the posts were just copy/pasted. The worst reposting sites don’t use the blogging tools correctly and end up copy/paste into an italicized block quote. It looks just yucky and is one way to make sure no one comes back to your blog.
One of the more sad reposts are for law professors. I see the author is a law professor at XYZ University and I expect that the posts are going to be rich in thought. Then I begin to read and quickly find that all of their posts were taken from someone else! They will even have a one-line post with a link to some random publication. Say something! Please, give me your insight! I can find and read publications any time. I grew up in the generation that has always had the internet. What I don’t have is an expert based opinion shrouded in personal experience about that publication. The fact is: if your not adding to the discussion, you’re being irresponsibly lazy.
The reason why I have such a high horse on the subject of repost blogs is simple. Repost blogs are insulting. While it is fine to assume some lack of knowledge of your readers, repost blogs assume your readers are plain dumb. Defining terms is customary in academia and, from my limited understanding, the law is the same. So, please, define terms, explicate, tell your readers what’s-what, but don’t just hand them materials and hope for the best. If a friend hands me a book, I get from the gesture that they want me to read it. If I ask that friend, “why are you handing me this?” and they blankly stare at me, what am I suppose to think? You’d find the experience jarring and discomforting. As a repost blogger, this is what you are doing. You’re handing a blog over expecting your readers to be interested based solely on title alone.
At this point, my high horse has become the dead one I’m beating. Simply put, bloggers are writers. Writer’s struggle with writing from time to time, hence the common colloquialism ‘writer’s block’. In the case of a repost claiming writing woes, you as a writer are ignoring the principle rule of inspiration: first, write about what you know. A repost blogger obviously can find material, sources, etc. Why not put in a bit of effort and write a few sentences about the post? If it is a publication in a professional journal, is it any good? If it is a post that starts “with permission from the author”, why not say how much you enjoyed it or tell us what about the post made you want to repost it? Lastly, if you’re a blogger that is just looking for ad revenue from people clicking on your site, shame.
I would like to see more lawyers chiming in on topics that I’m only just now learning about. I read a post that is interesting and I want to know if there is another side or if the law is different in different states. Consequently, that’s not the case. However, it would be just neat to see a series of blogs that respond to one another creating a meaningful discussion that adds to the knowledge base of a given topic.