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You will not tell me what to post…

Okay, this is not a big rant, but it had to be said. Some weblogs actively appeal for people to send them links to stuff that they might like to post about. I do not. No doubt some people are delighted when people say, “you should put this on your site”. I am not. Let me say this really clearly once and for all – I do not link to stuff that people ask me to link to.

This is not an absolute rule, I’ll admit. Over the last five/six years I’ve probably been asked to post someone else’s links to my site about five hundred times. How many did I end up posting? Maybe four. I’m actually less inclined to post things to my site if someone has explicitly asked me to. When under those kinds of pressure, I feel I must demonstrate the independence and freedom of my site. I feel I have to demonstrate that it’s a space where I’ll act as I think is best, with full cognisance of my responsibilities to work, friends. If people explicitly ask me to post something, then of course my assumption is that all they want is the link, that they’re trying to exploit my site for their own gain in some way and have no actual interest in my opinions or being part of a community. I will be contrary in those situations. If you are listening, e-marketeers, then take note already.

Let me be blunt – I will not link to things if you ask me to. If you send me a link saying, “you should post about this”, then – unless I’m really clear it’s for altruistic reasons – I almost certainly will not. And I may look at you funny the next time we meet down the pub. I may not go down to the pub with you at all. Are we clear? Good.

In the meantime if there’s something you genuinely think I might find interesting, please feel free to send it to me! I like reading new things – I’m interested in all kinds of stuff. Just please make it because you genuinely think it’s something I might care about rather than because you might make a nickel out of it. I thank you and good night.

9 replies on “You will not tell me what to post…”

Nope. Not even then. Not on this site anyway. I want to make it absolutely clear that – for the foreseeable future at least – I’m absolutely putting no part of this site up for sale. Other sites I may run – well that’s another matter.

I agree completely with your posting policy, Tom. All to often amateur bloggers (I am one but at the same time am not. It’s not worth my time to explain that though) who find some kind of need to get instant traffic literally spam better known bloggers and I really can’t figure out why. People have been talking lately about the rules of blogging and this clearly should be one. Please, please, please don’t solicit you content whorishly. If you are a talented writer/synthesizer/analyzer, the traffic will come, believe you me.

I have the problem in reverse. I don’t mind suggestions for what to blog about (though demands about my blogging go straight to /dev/null), but my pet peeve is people who tell me what NOT to blog about: “I’m not interested in Disney/science fiction/mashups/WiFi/Katamari Damacy/$foo, stop writing about it.” You know what? Use your spacebar. Or read something else. This is where I post everything I care about — and nothing more, and nothing less. I don’t post stuff I hope you’ll be interested in. I post stuff in the hopes that people who have the same interests as me will be entertained.
Seriously — learn some greasemonkey and do a keyword filter. Or filter the RSS. Or whatever. Just don’t tell me not to be interested in the stuff I care about.

I’m totally with you, Cory. I used to get that a lot. A few years back I started to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that I was sharing so much of my personal life with people on my site. And so I started doing less of it, talking instead about things that I was interested in and passionate about. I got so many e-mails from people saying they weren’t interested in hearing about that stuff – that they just wanted to hear about my latest dating disaster. They genuinely felt that the whole enterprise was for them and that I owed them something. It’s this fundamental misunderstanding of what a weblog is about or for that made me start thinking about them as representations of people online and that people were asking me to change myself to fit their desires.

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