Friday, June 8, 2012

On blogging: The good, the bad and the ugly

Alright, folks! It's the last day of school in my neck of the woods.There is excitement in the air! I don't have much time off but I am looking forward to not getting up the morning and carrying out my frenzied act. I wanted to write about blogging today and share some tips and thoughts. First the tips: These are not hugely tech-oriented tips but just some simple, new things I have learnt over the last few months.

1. Piknik: I read many blogs and I hear people bemoaning the loss of Piknik that occurred a few months ago. Piknik is alive and well within Google+.  If you join Google plus, you can use the same editing software. It is an added plus for those of us that use Blogger because all the pictures are stored in Picasa web albums and are easy to access via the Blogger platform. Access Google plus here: all you need is a Google account.

2. If you are on Blogger, are you using the Properties feature for your pictures? 

They make your pictures search-engine friendly. These SEO friendly features that Blogger has provided do help and you can read all the details here.

3. Plagiarism and copying. This is on the rise even as more and more people are made aware of intellectual copyright. You don't have to be a high profile photographer or a famous author for your work to be considered sacrosanct. Every original word/ work matters. A few months ago I found that a leading lifestyle company in India was publishing my blog posts on their website and the way it was done, it looked like I was writing for them. Entire posts were lifted and published straight on their site but minus all the links that I always try to provide: the photographer, the stylist and the magazine or article where the work appeared. They had a Facebook page with tens of thousands of readers. When I wrote to them repeatedly that they shouldn't be doing this, they quietly deleted the pages. 

A fellow blogger is always "inspired" by the same things I am, usually within hours or days of my post :). She doesn't do a Ctrl+C but instead lifts ideas and phrases. It is harder to pinpoint but is copying all the same. Anyone who reads the posts in consecutive order can tell and many have brought it to my attention. And stolen words matter. You see, I can't put a watermark on them and they are all I have. 
Like for so many of us, blogging is a passionate endeavor for me and when someone steals the words and presents it as their own, it takes the joy out. Sure, it's great to have a financial return on my blogging but as someone who intends to be a lifelong blogger (ha! that's dramatic!), I want to preserve that feeling of happiness I associate with blogging.

4. Tumblr, Pinterest: There are so many places that a blogger has to be in order to be seen! I like both Tumblr and Pinterest. My only concern with them is most times, the link back is not to the original author or creator. I have lost many of my own pictures to Tumblr and it's almost funny how many different post authors you can click back to without finding whose picture it really is. So, I have stopped using pictures from Tumblr unless I know the original source. So take an extra minute, find out the original source and acknowledge both the Tumblr blog or site where you found it and the original author. On Pinterest, I have an account but I haven't pinned much. I love using it because I come across so much creativity. So, read what the folks at Pinterest say:   

"Credit Your Sources

Pins are the most useful when they have links back to the original source. If you notice that a pin is not sourced correctly, leave a comment so the original pinner can update the source. Finding the original source is always preferable to a secondary source such as Image Search or a blog entry." 

- from Pinterest Etiquette here.

So, that means if you see a picture on my blog that isn't mine and you want to Pin it and be a good internet citizen, just find the credit link that I have at the bottom of every post, visit that original source and Pin the picture from there. It is the right thing to do. If I state that the picture is mine, Pin away and it will link back to my blog and I will say a big Thank You!
I didn't mean for this to be such a wordy post but I have wanted to write this for a while now. Hope it helps clarify things! 

Image credits: All these pictures taken by me.

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