Perry Lowe and Michael Frummin of Eyebeam both emailed me well thought out responses to the post I published this morning. Since they both made comments that add something significant to the discussion, I requested their permission to post their replies, which they granted.
Thanks for your email and the interesting post on AFC. I wanted to take a moment to respond to your comments about reBlog.
Your first and major points seem to be “post more unusual content and use new voices.” We're trying to do both but sometimes these are at cross-purposes. Our last reBlogger L.N.R. was a great example. Very smart, interesting person adding a new voice to reBlog but because she wasn't one of the “same kind of web surfer” she probably put up more posts from Boing Boing, Treehugger, etc than you might care for and did repeat a bit of content that had been on reBlog before.
How do we ensure that every new reBlogger is spot on? We can't. Your post is well timed since I actually sent an email to my colleagues yesterday asking them to start pulling together suggestions for interesting new reBloggers to be reviewed at our next programming meeting. Perhaps your post will give all of us at Eyebeam a needed kick to think a little more creatively about reBlog. We appreciate the names you listed and will certainly add them to the mix.
You take umbrage with reBlog not linking back to the source material. It's not “lazy linking,” we ask reBloggers to do this on purpose. Your example of Tom Ritchford reBlogging a Boing Boing post which then links to blog.wfmu.org is a great example. The Boing Boing post is recreated verbatim on reBlog. While I'm sure people might want to see what else is on Boing Boing (.2% by your earlier reasoning) why not link to some new and relevant content to broaden the readers experience?
Lastly we've been intending to redo our web site and make reBlog a large part of our homepage for well over a year now…
Again, thanks for your comments…
One final comment referring to the issue of “lazy linking”: I really need hold myself to my own standards because I should have taken more time to find a link that better reflected my complaint. My real annoyance with lazy linking, most commonly comes from the practice of rebloggers linking to other reblogs. In this scenario, the original source is not listed, the reblog is. Michael Frumin responded to this in the following email,
As author of the reblog software I have thought about this a lot. Unfortunatly, it’s basically just impossible at this point. The reblogging of reblogs does get messy, but there’s just not enough standards/adoption to really track things back to their ‘original’ source. We would eagerly accept any help someone might have to offer in terms coding the reblog software to be smarter.
Programmers, I urge you to consider this your next challenge.