New to the Series? Start with Part One
Blogosphere: A series
Part Twenty-Four: Farming the Internet for Material
We’ve mentioned some of the sources for gathering material for your Blog. This time I want to delve a little deeper into where to go (I love telling people where to go!), and what it means to use material from another source.
Philosophically speaking, all information you write about (and think about, for that matter) comes from other sources. We think and write in a learned language, and only the news that we see happening first-hand is (largely) unfiltered. Typically everything you find will be a product of two or more sources.
This holds true for the Blogs you read as well. Those well-crafted, informative and entertaining posts you read are a rehash, in one form or another, of material found elsewhere.
I tell you this so you don’t feel conflicted when it comes to borrowing. Note, however, this is not carte blanche to just lift lines or whole postings from another source. You may grab ideas, facts, notions and so on from any number of sites, but doing a direct copy is poor form. In fact, it is plagiarism. Nothing will kill your “authority” like being discovered to be a plagiarist. Oh, and being discovered isn’t just by the original writer. The Web Spiders or Search Robots (however you like to refer t them) will give the first iteration of any piece the “top billing”. Copies might garner a lot of attention, but the original gets listed higher on the search engine pages.
When you borrow from another site you must always add value to what you use on your own Blog. Using your own words, a different vocabulary helps, but adding your own insight and observations is what is needed.
Some of the best places to go (I promised, right?) are Blogs like yours. See what others are writing about your current pet topic. Read, assimilate, learn, and synthesize from their work. You may be surprised at how one posting you read on another’s’ Blog sparks off a whole series for yours.
But, you ask, how do you find blogs like yours? Yesterday or the day before I mentioned a technique that works especially well for users of WordPress. In the Dashboard section, click on Tag Surfer, and put in the tag words you used in your own post. WP will return what it finds.
Just remember the Blogger’s mantra: Search widely, borrow liberally, add value. …and keep on keeping on!