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I’ll gently disagree with Chris Brogan’s idea about recycling blog posts yesterday. Go read it if you haven’t.

Welcome back.

Here’s why this is a bad idea. Senior master instructor Ken Savage of the Winchendon Martial Arts Center likes to compare life to a wheel on a wagon. Each year, the wheel turns around and you’re back to where you started. What we often fail to take notice of is the distance that the wheel has traveled in that year. Each year, we’re further down the path than the year before. Each birthday that rolls around is another year of travel, and a lot happens in that year. You learn a lot. You change. You grow. The wagon is in a different place, too. The terrain is different, the environment is different.

11 years on the path

If I write a blog post in, say 2008, about something “evergreen” and then just repost it as is or link it up without changing it, I’m giving short shrift not only to my readers, but also to myself. By doing that, I’m failing to acknowledge that a lot has happened in 3 turns of the wheel and who I am today in 2011 should have even more insight, even more value to add.

If you want to recycle older stuff, especially stuff with no interactions or comments on it, take just a couple of minutes to polish it up, rewrite parts that have changed, and add in anything that you’ve gained from your experiences as the wheel has turned. Then take your old post, redirect it to preserve any inbound link juice, and let the world know about your newer, more updated perspective on things.

When you think about it in terms of real world recycling, the exact same thing happens. The old is crushed into raw materials, melted down, impurities extracted, and then reformed into something new. Don’t just hand someone a “used bottle” blog post – truly recycle it and give them something fresh.

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