Good Etiquette for the Modern Blogger – Day 1

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Welcome to Day 1 of …

Thanks for joining us for what I’m sure will be a very valuable discussion & week of learning. I for one am really excited about the coming week – I’ve had the good fortune of prereading our guest bloggers posts – and you are going to just love the wealth of information & wisdom that they have to offer us!! So make sure you stay tuned for the whole week…

First inspiration to run a series on this topic came to me from a couple of my friends who had recently started a blog themselves. Because I’d been blogging a bit longer, a couple of them asked me if there was an (un)written bloggy etiquettte. The question had me kind of stumped – and certainly without answers.  It got me wondering myself… hence the creation of this week….

Lets face it from the beginning – blog etiquette is a BIG topic!! It can be uncomfortable to talk about, and for some it can invoke some past issues and emotions. In my opinion that’s even more reason for us to address it in a positive, educational & constructive manner. This week is NOT designed as a forum for us to air any dirty laundry that may be floating around and focus on past “wrongs”!!!   – negativity will not be tolerated (thanks in advance!!).  Moreso it is a week to focus on the “rights”.  I’m hoping that by the end of the week we will each come away with a little more understanding of good “blog etiquette” practise.

– By bringing all this out into the open it is my goal that there is a much smaller opportunity for us to be unintentionally disrespectful of others & their work. I have as much to learn as anyone!! 🙂

Can I encourage you to give feedback over the week (by way of comments) on the posts & offer any (positive) suggestions or experiences that you may have. I’d love for this to be interactive if possible and become a “discussion”. Also feel free also to ask any specific questions that you have in the comment space. If on day 7 any of these questions have not been answered, I’m going to try & cover them in a future post where possible.

All that being said – sheesh – lets get this party started….
Our first Guest Blogger is the VERY talented Angela, otherwise known over on Flickr as Twee ✁cut to pieces  and who I am lucky enough to be involved in a few swaps with. Thank you Angela for sharing your wisdom with us!!  …

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I’m supposed to introduce myself, so here goes… My name is Angela and I’m addicted to fabric. Oh wait…that’s a different group! Well, it’s still true. Lol. But I’m also a sewer and quilter and I blog my various thoughts over at my little corner of world http://cuttopieces.blogspot.com. I’m 31 (I think…I can’t remember too much these days) living in the Sunny South of the US with my husband, my 14 month old daughter, and a pretty kitty. All of them are quite snuggly! I began blogging about my quilting as a way to keep track of my own ideas and explain to anyone who would care to listen why I do what I do. And I’m full of opinions, so when Kat was looking for people to talk about Blogging Etiquette, I offered to give my take on the subject. 😉 Enjoy!
Blogging Etiquette. That is certainly a topic that I would never have thought I’d be writing about even 5 years ago…I’m tempted to write about texting and cell phone use etiquette, but that’s a story for another time and perhaps just a personal pet peeve. LOL.
I love the term etiquette. It elevates the occasional ramblings of my mind, which I type up frequently in the hopes that other people will enjoy reading them, to a higher form of communication. It gives credence and power to the words written on a blog. And it reinforces what so many have lost: proper behavior. I’ve always been a very “proper” person, so this comes quite naturally to me. And what it all really boils down to is one word: respect.
Blogs have taken over the world really as a form of reliable or unreliable information. They are reducing the need for printed newspapers and putting trained writers and journalists out of a job. Meanwhile many new writers are arising on the screen in a new form of a common dream to be the next great, undiscovered author. You can say anything on the internet and someone might read it. A lot of someones might read it and book deals can be made or movies (Julie and Julia anyone?). There are some pretty lofty things that can happen as the result of having a blog…which makes it all the more important to learn some tips for how to have a successful blog. I’m not entirely sure that I qualify as any sort of authority on this and I’m sure that the idea of what a successful blog actually is can be wildly debated. Regardless, I offer my humble opinion as an option on how maintain a blog.
As I said before, it all comes down to the idea of respect. If you are respectful of people and kind in your words, there should not be problems. (caveat: there are always going to be crazy people out there with a chip on their shoulder…sometimes it really is their problem though). I personally believe that a blog should mainly contain original content written and created by the author. I realize that there are some blogs out whose entire purpose is to consolidate other people’s ideas and put them in one place, but that’s a different breed all together. If you don’t have enough original ideas to share on your own, then you might want to consider whether you should be keeping a blog in the first place.
There are personal blogs, where people use the internet as a way of communicating with friends and family all over the world. Here people use their family’s name, have massive amounts of pictures of their family and children especially, and discuss things like family vacations and birthdays. This is all very private information. I would highly suggest anyone who has a blog like this to make the settings invitation only and non searchable. No one needs to know the details of your family’s life who does not know your family. There are far too many crazy people out there! (Which reminds me, I need to change my facebook settings as well) Even with a private blog, it is always, I repeat, always important to ask permission particularly before posting pictures of someone else’s children or them. I really wish people did this on facebook as well. No one likes a bad picture of themself out there for all to see and some people just feel that you can’t be too careful. Regardless, you need to Respect their wishes…and that means finding out what they are.
Blogs about hobbies are a bit different. These are intentionally left public because the author is generally trying to gain a large readership. They don’t want to limit who can see their blog because they want to reach a large unknown audience. Yes, there is personal risk involved, but usually that is outweighed by the goals of the author. Plus you can be completely anonymous if you so choose….although I personally believe the best blogs are the ones where people share something of themselves.
Again, a blog about hobbies should, I believe, be made up of mainly original content by the author. If you are constantly blogging about other people’s work, then you might ask what you have to offer. And on the topic of blogging about someone else’s work, here’s where things can get tricky. Remember that idea of respect? Well it is hugely important when talking about someone else publicly. If you would like to use someone else’s work on your blog it is very important to get their permission first, give credit to them in your blog, and always link back to their blog so your readers can go and see the inspiration from its original source. Most people will have no problems with this as it increases awareness of their work and their blog. But you may run across someone who does and you need to respect their wishes. (Note: when I contact the artist to use the images in this post, I was thanked gratefully and told that most people do not ask!)
image used courtesy of Anthony Burrill
If you have a successful blog, you will probably have some comments. No, not all comments are useful and some could be truly offensive. But this is where your power as the blog author comes in and you can delete something that is really wrong. But I would only do this sparingly…people will stop commenting if they feel that the comments are being guarded so as to put a spin on the tone of the blog.

In general, people are quite nice and encouraging. It took me a while to figure this out, but it’s important to let your readers know that you are actually reading what they write to you. I’m much more likely to leave a comment on the blog when I know that the author will engage me in a private dialogue about the content. I’m much LESS likely to leave a comment on a blog with 500 comments already. Unless it’s for a giveaway. 😉

I personally try to reply to anyone who comments on my blog (unless it’s a giveaway…because that would be exhausting!). Not everyone has an email linked to their comment and so I don’t respond to those. If they want to remain anonymous, then I let them do so. Otherwise, I want to let people know that I have read what they said and I appreciate that they have taken the time to both visit my blog and then to comment. Lately, I’ve also taken to answering some comments both publicly and privately because I think the question is a good one and needs a public answer. That is when I will comment in my own comment section. I’m working on getting my comments to look different so that it will be easy to see what is a comment back from me.

And trust me, when all else fails, just go back to that golden rule: When you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. You really can’t go wrong with that. Kill them with kindness is another favorite of mine. 😉

image used courtesy of Anthony Burrill

 Angela

29 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely post Angela… I agree about respecting other people’s privacy… We just had a discussion about this at home… DH does not like me writing about him, and honoring his decision, I have removed all snaps of him and posts about him… Its his personal choice and I think I should respect it…

  2. Yup Angela, I think you wrote down eloquently everything I probably would have had to say – I agree with you, where I comment and never hear back, I kind of lose interest in that person as a blogger, regardless of how beautiful their quilts are. On the other hand, where the blogger is happy to enter into a simple dialogue, answer questions, advise etc, it brings the blog to life for me. Well written and well said.

  3. Thank you for taking the time out to wite this. As a new blogger I am aware that there are unwritten rules and expectations and wanted to find out what they are. Don’t want to cause any offence even by mistake. So this is excellent. I will be following it for the whole week

  4. What a great idea, I’m fairly new to blogging and was never sure whether or not it was the done thing to reply through email or on my comments page – I tend to go for a mixture of the 2. Am looking forward to reading the rest of this weeks posts.

  5. A great post! I was brought up not to say anything at all if I couldn’t say something nice – and it is definitely the way to go with blog commenting. I reply to my comments through a mixture too and I would love more commenters to include an email – if they ask a personal question I don’t want to answer on my blog it would certainly help.

    I’m looking forward to the rest of the week now!

  6. Great post, Angela! I was fortunate enough to start my blogging career by reading my friend’s blog – and when I made a comment, she always e-mailed me back, sometimes only with a thank you, but she always responded. This taught me that the best way to get more comments was to thank people for giving them! Plus, it’s only polite. If someone told you something face to face, you’d respond! So I always try to respond to every commenter – even giveaways, because I haven’t gotten big enough for that to be a hardship yet! And I’ve made some great friends over the last year through those comments….

  7. Great post! I wholeheartedly agree with all of the etiquette guidelines here!

    I think it’s really important to thank someone for the work that they do on their blog especially if you are going to use one of their ideas or something they wrote made you laugh, etc. You don’t have to be eloquent about it. Just a simple thanks or something positive to let the writer know you found value in it.

  8. A fantastic post!!! this is so helpful for new bloggers.You’ve covered so much in a clear, concise way. I had no idea how to reply or whether I should when i first started. i was lucky a really lovely blogger took me under her wing and helped me here and there with suggestions. Now I think the fun part of blogging is often in the replying, that’s where you make friends.

  9. Hello! I was happy to find here! I’m quite new in blogging and every information as well as opinion is wellcome and I hope to learn something. I agree with all above and feel good because that’s the way I feel also the blogging should be!
    Sunny wishes from Crete! Teje

  10. Thanks so much for this great topic. I’m new to blogging and I didn’t know the proper etiquette about replying to comments — email or comment back — but the response here has answered the question for me. Very helpful topic indeed.

  11. I’ve only just found your blog so I’ve read these posts from the last to the first. What a great series, thanks for getting all that information out there.

  12. Blogs about hobbies are a bit different. These are intentionally left public because the author is generally trying to gain a large readership.

    I started blogging for me as a record for my quilting. I did not want followers and was enjoying doing it for myself. I was early on getting done all my UFOs. When I realized how many people were actually reading my blog I hid most of it and deleted a few years. The early years 2007 etc. I was naive and did not realize how many people were stopping by.

    I no longer enjoy blogging. I have no interest in responding to every comment on my blog. My time is mine. I am not interested in running a business. I am glad that most of the traffic on my blog has stopped.

    I enjoyed reading your post and think in the future I will set my blog to private or just delete it. I create for me. I also do not care for the theft and lack of integrity I see in the quilting blogs. Theft is theft.

    I have met a few great ladies and enjoy watching what they are working on and talking to them. That I am grateful for and will keep visiting blogs.

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