Bloggers Should Think Coo-petition, Not Competition

    April 9, 2006

Jason Calacanis chastises the WSJ for not directly linking to bloggers. He wants the WSJ to give blogs the credit of a direct link rather than hiding behind Javascript code. That’s touching.

Unfortunately, Jason’s talking a good game that he doesn’t appear to play himself. I can’t recall a single instance where a Weblogs Inc. blog linked to a post from its cross-town rival, Gawker Media.

The same goes for Gawker Media in reverse. Scour Gizmodo’s in-bound links and Engadget’s in-bound links. Neither one includes their direct competitor.

The two treat each other like they have cooties. Even the Journal and the Times source each other when they snag scoops. (Update: Gina Trapani points out in an email that Lifehacker and Download Squad link to each other a lot. However, I am not seeing a lot of linking between the bigger direct Gawker/WIN competitors)

This all raises a bigger point about competition. Bloggers feed on it. Everyone’s checking their Technorati links like the baseball standings. Who’s in first?

What’s the magic number until Techcrunch clinches the pennant in the Web 2.0 category? Heck, I am guilty of it too. After all, it is addicting.

Now, however, I am working to break this habit. I have come to the realization that we shouldn’t be competing with each other, but trying to help one another – particularly newcomers from outside our blogger ghetto and our national borders. One way to do this is to link to blogs from outside the United States.

For example, here’s a neat post from Frank Arr from Australia about his experience talking to Jeff Raikes during a Microsoft meeting.

I am in the middle of reading the World is Flat. In the book, Thomas Friedman paints how since 2000 we’ve been living in a new era of globalization where co-opetition, not competition is the norm.

He demonstrates that when people from different nations around work together, they can achieve great things that benefit everyone. I can only think of one such example in the blog world – Global PR Blog Week. There might be others I am not aware of.

We need to do more as a group to start linking to our “competitors” as well as bloggers from outside our online and physical neighborhoods. One way to do this by subscribing to RSS feeds. I subscribe to Technorati and tag feeds for the topics I want to follow.

This helps me find lots of cool stuff from blogs I don’t normally read, often from outside the US. Let’s do more to help each other rather than focusing on who’s “in the lead.”

We shouldn’t criticize the MSM for not linking to us, but rather play our A game in how we link to each other.

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Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.