The Mechanics of Blogging About Illness: An Update
This is part one of my post for Invisible Illness Awareness Week. It's an update to the series of blog posts I did for National Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week in 2007.
The three posts that I wrote in 2007 are all still pretty pertinent to the topic, but as I mentioned in my last blog post (links to the three 2007 posts are there), there's a lot more being written on blogging about illness now than there was three years ago. So I figured an update was in order. Plus Lisa Copen, founder of II Week, suggested it as a topic.
Part 1 of the 2007 series of posts was also about the mechanics of blogging. In 2007 I referred to Jakob Nielsen's Blog Usability: The Top Ten Design Mistakes. I still think it's an excellent resource, with one argument about item #10, "Having a Domain Name Owned by a Weblog Service." Nielsen says:
"Having a weblog address ending in blogspot.com, typepad.com, etc. will soon be the equivalent of having an @aol.com email address or a Geocities website: the mark of a naïve beginner who shouldn't be taken too seriously."I wondered about this one three years ago, and now I'm sure it's just plain wrong. I know of plenty of excellent and even venerable blogs that use a blogging service.
In 2007 I didn't write about blog plagiarism at all, because I didn't know about it. If you care about your creative content it's a pretty big deal. The US government has written a law, the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (DCMA). This law protects intellectual property online, among other things. When you publish a blog post, it becomes copyrighted without your having to do anything else. Unfortunately, you pretty much have to enforce the law yourself if your content is stolen.
Stealing content is becoming more and more common. In fact while I was researching for this post I ran a check on The ICIE through Copyscape and found that someone had stolen my entire last blog post and put it on their own blog word for word including pictures, with no attribution to me at all.
Next I used WHOIS to look up who the blog is registered to. It belongs to a Joseph Eisenberg, in Israel. My next step will be to contact him and ask him to remove my content from his site. Lorelle on WordPress even has a form letter I can use. If Jakob doesn't respond within a reasonable amount of time, there are many other steps I can take. All of which will use up time and energy that I sure don't have a surplus of! And I wonder about the fact that this person is in Israel, where U.S. laws don't apply...
Here are several other links to sites describing what to do if your content is stolen:
How to Protect Your Website's Copyright When Someone Steals Your Content at Time For Blogging
What to do When Someone Steals Your Blog's Content - Blog Plagiarism at ProBlogger
I hope I'm not scaring anyone away from blogging with all this talk about content theft and how to deal with it. I suppose I could look at it as imitation being the highest form of flattery. But I'm still going to pursue anyone who steals my content to the limits of the law. And more, if necessary. ProBlogger has some interesting ideas in the link mentioned above, and:
Hitting Content Spammers and Plagiarists Where It Hurts
A lot of people who blog about illness are actually sick and not able to sit at a desk. I blog from a recliner with a laptop tray. I found this tray at The Bed Tray Shoppe. It actually looks pretty ergonomic and useful.
You probably want to avoid any setup that looks like this:
The blood is draining down from her hands and it will have a very hard time going back up. Not good.
Come back next time for Part 2 of this series which will be about the more philosophical aspects of Blogging About Illness. The fun stuff.