My Social Media and Marketing Mathom Room
In the universe of JRR Tolkien's The Hobbit and LOTR: “Anything that Hobbits had no immediate use for, but were unwilling to throw away, they called a mathom. Their dwellings were apt to become rather crowded with mathoms, and many of the presents that passed from hand to hand were of that sort." (Tolkien, cited on World Wide Words)
Going forward, when I have a small collection of various bits that don't quite merit a full post of their own, but which I am not quite willing to throw away, I will be posting them to my social media and marketing mathom room.
Associated Press takes on the fair use standard - The blogosphere was abuzz earlier this week with the news of takedown notices sent by AP to parody web site The Drudge Retort citing copyright infringement. While it seemed to back down (and yet not) from the hard line stance, the AP party line seems to be that verbatim quotations from AP stories on blogs is not fair use, whereas paraphrasing and linking is. This is a complex issue, and won't be resolved in the court of blogger opinion. It will take the inevitable lawsuit. In the meantime, if you'd like to know more about fair use and implications for bloggers, check out EFF's legal guide for bloggers (hat tip Kami Huyse for the reminder).
In my opinion, AP is paying attention to the wrong problem. Instead of worrying about the potential lost licensing revenue from bloggers using AP content under fair use, it should be thinking about how to reinvent itself in a new media landscape. In the simplest terms, AP is a news aggregator. It has a lot more competition now than it did a few years ago, and establishing a perimeter defense just doesn't seem like the smart move.
Some will advance the quality argument -- a professional organization like AP adds value to the story that cannot be duplicated by Internet sources or citizen journalists. Buffalo chips. Sure, AP has some stellar reporters who write great stories. But the agency is less and less needed to serve this intermediary role when the media, whether social or mainstream, can more easily go to the source.
Which is why I agree with Michael Arrington, Jeff Jarvis and others who suggest bloggers stop using AP stories as source material. Go to the original source. If you must use the AP information, and really, you shouldn't need to, paraphrase and link, don't quote. Unless you want to be the test case in a lawsuit, this is the safer course. And perhaps AP will realize that it should have been more careful in what it wished for.
Link exchange requests: PR's Amateur Hour - Last week, I advised to never ever ask for a link exchange from a blogger. If you didn't believe me then, believe my friend and mom blogger Julie Marsh. She writes this week that link exchange requests are worse than PR spam.
Ranking systems- As regular readers know, I think ranking systems are inherently flawed in that they are created by human beings with biases. As long as we know and acknowledge the limitations, they are not that harmful. If we forget that these structures were created by people with a point of view and are generally anything BUT objective, we end up attaching far more importance to them than they deserve. Robert French has a nice analysis of the Ad Age Power 150 that touches on some of these points.
That's it for this edition of my mathom room.
The comments to this entry are closed.