mindGrazing

chewing ideas down to stubble, then moving on…

Posts Tagged ‘blogs’

Creating Original, Timeless Blog Content

Posted by Jason on February 18, 2009

Before I started writing this blog, I read several posts about how to create a successful blog, etc. One thing that hit me then was the need to create original, relevant content. If you merely comment on stuff that happened in the news yesterday, your blog is bound to be forgotten and the only way to keep up your number of hits which, if your blog is anything like mine, isn’t a very large number.

I used to post every day or maybe even multiple times per day, but since the beginning of the year I haven’t really been feeling it too much. Granted my big blogging frenzy only lasted about 2 and a half months, but I think there’s been a change in my ideas about blogging philosophy. It’s hasn’t really been nagging me: I’m not distraught over my lack of bloggage lately. But I did realize that my past blogging has really not been too much of the original, timeless type of writing. I have some things that are meant to be educational and truly not just current events, but not nearly enough of them.

I’ve been in a vicious cycle of reactionary writing. I tended to read many blogs throughout the wordpress world in which the authors write about stuff that they’ve read on someone else’s blog, which was written in response to something else, and so on and so on. 

It’s very difficult to come up with things that you think someone might want to read on a regular basis. It’s far easier to read a bunch of blogs and comment and write your blog in response to what other people are writing. That’s why there’s billions of blogs out there that are really quite lame and uninteresting to read. People find it very difficult to come up with original ideas, but find it very easy to regurgitate or repudiate what they find in elsewhere in the blogosphere.

Now, does that mean I have the answer to writing great blog content that is relevant, yet timeless? Obviously not because I’m still working a full-time job and not getting a penny for my thoughts. So how about this? I challenge all two of you that faithfully read this blog to hold me accountable to not write crap that no one will care about tomorrow or next week. Let’s all try to write good stuff that someone might actually want to read at least two weeks past the date of publishing!

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Posted in Musings, writing | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Ah, the Joys of Net Plagiarism

Posted by Jason on January 12, 2009

So it has been brought to my attention that my content has been copied verbatim and posted on another blog. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t even that great of a post that was copied. My little rant about people bitching about Obama’s choice for the (soon to be forgotten) inaugural prayer was not among my finest posts. Nevertheless, some schmuck decided to cut-and-paste my post into his own blog on blogspot. No props, no acknowledgment, no linkback, no nothing.

It shouldn’t be surprising that I’ve never been the “victim” of plagiarism before. It’s quite a different feeling. I’ve seen scores of examples of it on the internet, but it’s never been my stuff before. I mostly think to myself, “Wow this person is a loser. They can’t even write their own posts. They claim to have information, but it’s not new or different in any way from something else I just read.” And then I move on in my never-ending search for more information about this topic or that.

I did some research, and apparently the practice of “scraping” is quite common and there’s really nothing that can be done to prevent it. If you can read it you can steal it. However, once you’ve been scraped you can try to contact the webmasters and have them remove the content. Or you can try and contact the individual scraper (good luck with that). If the person is making money with Google Adsense, you can tell Google and they’ll stop paying the person. And then there’s legal action, which is never a certain win because the laws are kind of mucky and it’s a waste of money.

Anyway, I haven’t resolved what I’m going to do yet. I’ll probably try and contact the person once I get home from work. I don’t think I should be flattered, since the post was kind of dumb anyway. It’s not like my favorite work was copied and pawned off as someone else’s own work. Maybe I should find some crazy hacker to terrorize his site and harass him. Whatever… Any thoughts?

Posted in writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Interesting Resolution…

Posted by Jason on January 5, 2009

I’ve skimmed tons and tons of blogs that say, “This year I’m going to read more…” or “I’ve decided I’m going to read 20 novels this year…” That’s all good and I’m sure some succeed, while many others fail. Today, I happened on this post by Megan on the card catalog

Her resolution is to systematically read in sections of the Dewey Decimal system, one section per month. How cool is that!!! This would be excellent for me to try out, considering I’m a jack-of-all-trades type. Maybe I’ll be inspired one day to actually make a resolution. Thanks, Megan!

Posted in books, Literature | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Posted by Jason on December 11, 2008

Here’s a perfect example of religious antagonism that just completely pisses me off:

The Ubiquitous Darwin Fish

The Ubiquitous Darwin Fish

Now must of us know that the original Ichthys or “Jesus Fish” was a Christian symbol for various different reasons, depending on which scholar you ask, and my beef is not about who had which symbol first, etc. This is just the epitome of how people go out of their way to antagonize the “other side,” whichever side that may be. Darwinists or anti-Creationists or Anti-Christians or whatever you would like to call them have distorted a well-known symbol in order to use that for their own message. This is, in effect, a mockery of the Christian symbol and I’m sure it offends a lot of people.

That said, I think that the Darwin fish-thingy is incredibly clever. However, I feel that when it’s displayed on a car or any other public place, it becomes a statement. Why make public statements that mock and antagonize people? The problem is not just with evolutionists or atheists or democrats or any one group. Do I really care that some jackass in his little Mazda Miata thinks he’s intellectually superior to me because I happen to be Christian and he has a little symbol that says his beliefs are more “evolved” than mine? Of course not…

What pisses me off is that people of all creeds and walks of life feel like they absolutely must stick it to the other side whenever possible. Why waste your life with such a petty and stupid agenda? Is it really worth all the stress and anger you create when you write a 2000-word blog post that really exposes the whack-job right wingers or the commy-pinko liberals? Oooo… it’s as if I never knew that Republicans were closer to Fascists and that Democrats were kind of like Socialists. Cmon people!!!

So let’s get real: Stop trying to disprove everything by using the same old rhetoric that everyone’s heard before. If you believe differently than someone else, who cares? Maybe talk to that person to get a better understanding of what they think, but then move on! Write about something that generally interests you; not something that makes you feel smart. If you don’t know anything about anything, then write a blog that posts a bunch of questions about stuff you don’t know. There’s plenty of people out there in the blogosphere that will give you their opinions…

Posted in Musings, politics, religion | Tagged: , , , , , , | 11 Comments »

Will Print Media Ever Die?

Posted by Jason on December 9, 2008

So we’ve heard that newspapers are suffering. Major book publishers are suffering. The failing economy seems to compound the decline of printed information that we’ve witnessed for several years. There is no arguing that the digital revolution has severely changed the scene for publishing of all types. This is a sink or swim time for the publishing world. Adapt and overcome, or face extinction. Will the world of words on the printed page ever cease to exist? Will print media turn to dust and museum fodder like the dinosaurs?

It almost seems that books, newspapers, and magazines have been relegated to the world of luxuries these days. A television is indispensable for news and entertainment, but a newspaper subscription or shelf full of books connotes a higher class of people. People that have those things have more or less stable incomes and static living situations. Any book lover who has moved can tell you that he or she would have far less books if moving were a yearly event. It reminds me of Edison’s reported quotation: “We will make electricity so cheap that only the rich will burn candles.” Instead of electricity, it’s information. Only the rich will read books anymore…

Many writers certainly welcome the digital revolution for its ease of communication with publishers and editors. Furthermore, all these advances make dispersing of their information much faster and they have access to many more means of communicating their messages. Blogging lets pretty much anybody self-publish with little or no editing for style, clarity, etc. All kinds of people who never had a voice in print now do. Feedback, good and bad, is immediate. These things are all wonderful.

However, writers must have a physical record of their ideas. All the different technologies will change some day, and nobody will be able to read from a standard hard drive as we know them, since there will be 8 million other things a hundred or 200 years down the road. This blog will cease to exist once I die… maybe? Does the blog replace the diary? Will future generations have any access to their favorite writers once print media kicks the bucket? So many different electronic versions and formats will exist of any given piece of literature: how will we know what was actually written or intended by the author? Or will “faithful enough to the original” be the industry standard for literary fidelity? 

I don’t think printed media will ever completely be wiped from the face of the Earth. But we could see a time when it is only reserved for the uber-cultured; those who delight in harkening back to a time when ink needed to meet paper in order for the word to be spread.

Posted in Literature, writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

Tag Surfer Woes…

Posted by Jason on December 8, 2008

I’m thinking of unsubscribing to the “religion” tag on my tag surfer for a while. There are sooo many people talking about so much religion that I’m getting overwhelmed with it. Also, I find I really don’t like to read a lot of stuff that people have put forth on the subject within the wordpress world. Sure, I have found a few gems that really spark some pondering in my pea-sized brain, and I am grateful for that. 

Maybe it’s a problem of me not managing my expectations well, but I hoped that I would find a smorgasbord of bloggage in which people put forth thoughtful opinions that are healthily debated by those with different ideas, and it would be beautiful. I pictured a sort of tertulia or salon where ideas are tossed back and forth over virtual wine and cigar smoke…

Alas, the blogosphere oddly resembles real life, in which people have beliefs and cannot entertain different ideas, no matter how innocuous those ideas may be. I guess the blessing and the curse of blogging, especially about religion, is that so many people have access to others that they normally would never have access to. There is a reason that some Christians don’t hang out with or talk to Atheists or Muslims or Jews or whatever: they would all fight and proselytize in order to get someone who will never believe or see their point of view to do just that. It’s not all Christians, or Atheists/Agnostics, but it seems like these two groups are largely at each other’s throats in the blogosphere. 

Dozens of blogs are created just to refute a differing position. “This is why I am right and you are wrong.” Blogs that prove Jesus is real and blogs that prove He is not. I personally don’t care if you think Christianity is the Way or if it’s the biggest waste of time: I’ll talk to you if you have something interesting to talk about, regardless of your age, race, sex, religion, color, or drinking habits. I am Christian; I am a United Methodist… but if all I talk about is being a Christian, then I wouldn’t expect anyone to read this blog much less comment on it (I guess if I had a blog like that, all the die-hard Atheists would be telling me I’m naive and stupid, so maybe I would have a few comments).

So much of our thinking is wasted on trying to convince people of something, good or bad; why don’t we worry more about expanding our brains and learning new things? The blogosphere would be so much nicer, then. Wouldn’t it???

Posted in Musings, religion | Tagged: , , , , | 4 Comments »