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Tuesday, 11 August 2009

A rant: adding value by leaving links in comments

I submitted the following comment to the Defence Management website on an article they had written about the MoD's new social media guidelines: "MoD wants personnel to use Twitter". (Something I covered here for the Frontline Club.)
"If you read the guidelines in full you'll see that the remit for using social networks is very narrow, (which is only hinted at in this article.) They certainly don't encourage soldiers to tweet from the field or in fact say a great deal which would be of much interest without permission. I've written a blog post which includes a discussion of the excpetions at the Frontline Club which might be of interest bit.ly/4BiIS."
When the comment was published a couple of hours later Defence Management chopped off the last sentence with the link to my post leaving just the following:

"If you read the guidelines in full you'll see that the remit for using social networks is very narrow, (which is only hinted at in this article.) They certainly don't encourage soldiers to tweet from the field or in fact say a great deal which would be of much interest without permission."
Now, if I was a bot leaving a spam link then by all means edit out my link. But I'm not a bot.

I rarely promote my own blog in this way, because it takes too long. So I'm not one of those people that constantly leaves links in all sorts of random comments sections as a promotion tool.


Of course, I was hoping to push a few readers (probably one or two) my way. But apart from the fact that it's nice for me to think that a couple more people might read my work, it doesn't make much difference to me.


I don't make any money from my Frontline blog. It's not like I need readers for my share of the advertising revenue because there aren't any ads on Frontline.


(Unlike Defence Management, I note. And I wonder how much pressure they are under from their advertisers to keep people reading what their advertisers want people to read on their site and not be directed to anyone else's point of view?)

My main reason for adding the link on my comment was because I thought it might have been of interest to the readers of Defence Management.

I thought this would be a neat way (rather than copying and pasting my whole post into the comments section) of letting people know of a different take on the issue at hand and letting them decide if they wanted to find out more.


In short, I thought I was doing Defence Management a favour by adding value to their content. How naive of me. I won't make that mistake again.

I mean, maybe I'm wrong and my blog post doesn't add any value to the discussion and they were right to edit me out. Or maybe my comment adds enough value without the link to my post and the extra information it provides. You can decide for yourself.


But whatever you decide, that's the last time I'll be commenting on the Defence Management website.

If I'm way off message with this, let me know in the comments or write your own post and stick a link in the comments! Is there an etiquette for promoting your own work in comments? Did I fall foul of it?


5 comments:

Daniel Bennett said...

Or maybe their CMS doesn't deal with links very well...but it's time people who publish on the Web got this sorted.

TCHe said...

The bit.ly link might have been a problem as well. Personally, I don't like them outside of Twitter because you just can't see at once where they'll leed you.
Assuming the folks are busy they probably don't want to check out every link …

Or maybe they're stupid.

Daniel Bennett said...

That's true. Although of course the long link was quite long! Which is why I shortened it.

ubiwar said...

Picking up on the etiquette thing. Tricky, I know. I saw your comment on this interesting story (how different to recent US debate!). I don't know what the correct behaviour is here - I link to myself very sparingly, as you suggest you do, and have always maintained the 'added value' ethos to links generally, on my site or others. I suspect the CMS is not to blame, as these tend to block the comment entirely. More likely a moderator pulled it, perhaps as site policy. We simply don't know, although DM does moderate comments.

Not sure I've added any value with this comment but I feel your pain!

Daniel Bennett said...

@ubiwar

Re: The differences between the UK and the US debate. Indeed! Indicating that the UK and US militaries are in completely different places with social media. I wonder how this will pan out in the context of ISAF/NATO media policy.

Most comments I get here do add value in my experience, and I don't think yours is any exception (even without a link!)

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