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Maddy Douglass

Knitter and lawyer in San Francisco. 

Loves coffee, crafting, culture, and cheese plates.

"Say what you mean, mean what you say." 

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Creating vs. Curating

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There's something I want to talk to you guys about today, and it's kind of...meta. Well, maybe not meta - that's like using the word ironic when you really just mean "horrible coincidence" - but it's directly pertinent to this blog post because it's about blog posting. I want to talk about the new trend of curating blog posts vs. creating them.

First of all, let me explain what I mean. Technically, all bloggers can "create" blog posts - you click "new post," type some words, and ta da! You're done. What I'm really talking about is the time spent treating a blog like an assignment for a job: coming up with the idea, designing the layout, figuring out all the necessary aspects (photography, instructions, etc.), shooting the visuals for the post, and finally, putting it all together. That, to me, is "creating" a blog post. It takes time, effort, energy, and dedication. And, a lot of creativity.

Let me just say, I am still a fledgling blogger - a duckling if you will, full of goose-down fuzz on my little duck head (I'm mixing my metaphor animals, just go with it), and trying to gain the strength in my wings to fly high like my Canadian brethren. And even for me to pick out an outfit, take enough pictures of it in a well-lit, aesthetically appealing, camera-thief-less location, adjust the pictures, and put a whole post together? That can take hours, hours which are equivalent to my little duck-goose-whatever wings flapping against a jet engine. Yeah, picture that for a minute. It's not pretty!

So is that then why so many bloggers (seemingly mostly young women trying to make a name for themselves as purveyors of either 1. the ultimate aspirational lifestyle; 2. the ultimate "look" as a fashionista; or 3. the ultimate crafter) go down this road of "curating" their blog posts by linking together pictures and outfits and DIY tutorials from other blogs, other websites, other creative types? Is it that much easier to collect ten pictures of the season's perfect denim jacket rather than to create one outfit post wearing one jacket of your own?

The answer, to be frank, is yes. Blogging is exhausting. You should do it if you have something to say; you should do it because the act itself is enjoyable to you. To some, I think the act of creating post-collage-hybrids of other recipes or products, is just as cathartic as cooking a dish and sharing it with all of you is for me. But it is hard to find the time sometimes. It is hard to make things look the way I want and feel comfortable putting the right images or the right words together (or even, for some posts, the right theme.)

So, then, who am I - little duck-goose-blogger that I am - to tell any other blogger the right or wrong way to share his or her thoughts? The right or wrong way to contribute to this online space, the right or wrong way to express what passions and interests he or she may have? I think there is something to be said for bloggers who take the time to create their own original content on a regular basis - I know that I appreciate seeing that amount of time and effort go into a post, because I know the blogger values his or her audience enough to go that far. But I also know here are times when a post about the thirteen best printed pants this season is exactly what I want to see. So where is the cut off? When is curating acceptable, and when is it just lazy? And do most readers appreciate the difference, or am I just making waves for no reason?

I think blogs should be primarily for the blogger, to express his or her thoughts, to share things of interest and ideas, to contribute to the creative online network that is being formed by this grand blogging community. But, when a blogger starts accepting advertising deals, when sponsors are clamoring for dedicated posts, and when the blogger is making a reputation for his or herself as someone who is knowledgable in a specific area (be it party planning, fashion, or cooking), then I think the blogger has a responsibility to create original content at least 70% of the time. If you are being looked to as an expert creative type, you should be able to create.

I'm not sure there is a right answer here, but it's been weighing on my mind as I try to develop more content for my posts and try to keep posting things that are engaging for my readers (and myself!), so I'd love to know - what do you think? Is it fine for a blog to consist of mostly collections of other links, or do you prefer when a blogger makes all her own original posts? Or do you think it depends upon whether she is a full-time blogger or has other responsibilities outside of the internet?

You've heard my thoughts on the subject, I'd love to hear yours! Leave me a comment below...

 

High Five for Friday: 10/4

Recipe from Le Marais Bakery: Pain de Genes

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