How can we create new content? How can we create our own, original material? What is our impetus for creating content, as opposed to repeating, retweeting, reblogging someone else's?
We repeat, or at least we think we repeat, and retweet, and reblog, because we take it initially as common courtesy and a shield from accusations of plagiarism; giving an author proper credit for the content we are viralizing, instead of claiming it as our own. We can keep this up for as long as the application or software we're using insists on flagging the provenance of whatever we stumble upon online and push along to the eyeballs that regularly or occasionally brush across the home pages of our own blogs. But at what point do we stop creating our own content and become exclusively distributors of prepublished content? When does putting down a sentence, stringing together a paragraph, arranging an image, coalescing a concept, or pinning down an idea become too much work for our overstimulated brains, overriding the desire to form our own opinions, to point in our own slightly-north-by-northwest directions, to produce something of our own that is itself, repeatable, retweetable, rebloggable?
This is a somewhat disturbing turn the path of online amateur journalism has taken from its original power shift after stealing the thunder from the big boys. Now, not only can anyone get online, open up their own blog and start creating their own content and make it as freely accessible as any other reputable source; but since there is so much content being produced and so much of it flying between so many nodes at any given time, it almost makes sense to simply cast your net into the stream, see what you catch, and toss the good bits in the direction of your own audience. It's more cost-effective, less labor-intensive, and the chances of your readers appreciating the redistributed content is just as good (or remote) as if the content was original.
On the other hand, five fingers: maybe this is a good thing. Maybe the encouragement of social media to "share" and "like" things will serve to weed out the true amateurs of the internet, leaving the ones who still produce their own content to bubble up through the charts.
Whether it's a problem or not, at least the whole bleeding situation has produced one good thing to-day: this post.