Bloggers and many readers are familiar with the idea of the blogroll, where we share some link love with the people we follow or read on a regular basis. The sneaky part comes in when someone renames their blogroll to “contributors”, making it seem like people are contributing to a blog when they are not.
The picture on the left is taken from another sites blog roll that pretty much so sums up what I am about to say here. While I do think it is wrong to pick some of the top conversational social media bloggers and call them contributors when they are not, this really goes a lot deeper than what I am personally thinking is wrong here. It really is using someone else’s reputation to inflate your own reputation, and in general that tends to backfire in social circles.
If someone is not contributing to your blog, you shouldn’t say that they are. We all spend many hours building our own audience, and our own online reputations. We are also fairly harsh on people when they use our reputation to inflate their own. This is especially true if you have no clue who the person is who is calling you a contributor, or what they are doing by calling you a contributor to a blog. For many on the picture on the right, I am dead certain that they are not contributing articles to the blog in question. I know these people and follow them on the internet. Ok I don’t really know them, but I know enough about them to know that they are busy with their own brands and generally tend to stick to their own blog or a small subset of similar bloggers.
What makes this truly sneaky is that the random passerby will not know the difference, in effect enhancing the blog by leveraging someone else’s brand. The blogger in effect is leveraging someone else’s personal brand that they have spent time building and making viable on the internet and in other social circles. While it is obviously a blogroll to people familiar with the idea and the term, the relable can cause problems for people down the road. This might not be something that people want to be associated with or otherwise engaged with when they learn the truth.
Leading to a complete rejection and back fire of what is going on by leveraging someone else’s branding on a web site. As users get smarter about what is and what is not good information, using a “contributors” label rather than a blogroll label will end up causing a loss of credibility in the longer run for the blog owner. That loss of credibility might never be won back, or it might lead to more egregious uses of language to try to regain the credibility that was lost.
If you are thinking of renaming your blogroll, you might consider “people I am interested in” and not contributors.