Free Advice is a periodic feature in which I answer letters sent to me at email@example.com. This question comes directly from BloggyVille, and it has the blog’s name attached.
In fact, the question hits close to home because it’s about somebody
stealing swiping borrowing copying recently starting a format that greatly resonates with a fellow blogger as exactly mostly somewhat perhaps similar to a monthly feature she already uses at her own house.
Here’s one you could maybe run with … Today, another (newer) blogger published a post in which she announced she is starting a monthly spam series. She even used the same photo I’ve used in one of my previous Spam-Bam posts (no issue there, it’s creative commons licensing).
So, here’s the question: Should I be flattered that I have finally “arrived” to the point where other bloggers are now imitating me? (Of course, I could never prove that she really did get the idea from me — but very highly suspicious, don’t you think, inasmuch as she is one of my followers.)
Or should I be pissed that someone is stealing my ideas?
— Waiting eagerly for your sage wisdom, Cordelia’s Mom
Dear Cordelia’s Mom,
Stinkin’ hey wahoo, get offa my porch, don’t ring the doorbell anymore, and no, you can’t borrow a cup of sugar!
That would be my first reaction to the neighbors who say they like the way our brownies always empty the platter first at the big block party so they’re going to make the same thing this year.
Not that we have a block party or have neighbors that would copy us by baking brownies or anything like that.
But you get my drift, CM.
Yes, when you see that somebody is taking the same route that you worked hard to cultivate, and that has earned you some degree of success, and also allowed you to feel pride, damn straight the first gut reaction could very well be, to conjugate your appropriate street term, a fine degree of piss-offed-ness.
But. But. But.
Everybody can make brownies, can’t they? Haven’t they for a really long time? And who’s to say my neighbors’ brownies would be better than mine? Or worse? Does it matter? Won’t the people who liked my brownies in the past still look for my brownies?
And isn’t it really kind of cool that my neighbor wants to get in on the brownie game anyhow?
So it is with you and the Spamajam. (I made that one up on the spot, by the way.)
Perhaps you indeed were the very first blogger to go into your spam folder and use the comments to make funny.
I have a feeling you were not, CM.
I Google searched, phrase: Funny Spam Comments. Hamell.net entry, 2009. ZDnet.com entry, 2010. Monthly features, I can’t tell. But I only took a moment to check.
I also have the feeling that your new flatterer will not be the only one dipping her toe into this big pool. Hopefully, others to come will not somehow seem to be following your Spam recipe so closely! Can’t seem to get away from my food thought, now, can I?
Finally, I like the way you handled it here in your post. Diplomacy. Reblogging. Flattery.
Good job! Keep an even keel and full humor ahead. Brownies for everybody!
Besides, you remind me to think once more of my origins. Thank you again, Ann Landers and Dear Abby for answering all those letters and handing out all that advice in your syndicated newspaper columns I never missed while I was growing up. Not to forget the very clever Amy Dickinson, who doles out great advice in her column nowadays. Did I copy them here? No way. I bring my own touches and flair, and do things my own way, with my own opinions, of course. If I must say so myself.
My qualifications: 57 years of open eyes and ears but no stalking charges. One dear wife Karen, one terrific daughter Elisabeth and her wonderful boyfriend George, one sensational stepson Daryl, one pet Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and various other family members of scattered location and adjectives. Four decades of writing in public about people, places and things.
Satisfaction is the goal, but is by no means guaranteed.