Can you tell I’m seriously concerned that you’ll take me too seriously? Read the post and then tell me you didn’t, please.]
As you all know by now, Life: The Ongoing Education has been a member of the wonderful world o’ blogs since June 26, 2006. In that time, this blogger has learned quite a bit about the blogosphere at large and the ways in which one correctly moves about in it. There is, I have come to realize, a system of blogging etiquette.
As with any system of manners or courtesy, blogging etiquette consists of “rules” that direct polite communication and interactions. If these rules are not followed, there is no punishment meted out; instead, failure to adhere to the rules means only that others might notice and remark upon the breach of etiquette. The reaction really depends upon the person noticing the lack of courtesy – some may be generous and come up with possible excuses to explain the slight; others may feel mild annoyance, but act generally forgiving; and, sadly, others may judge harshly and take action to correct the offense.
One of the rules of polite blogging is what I call the “Comment Thank-You Note.” The concept is simple: When someone new comes to visit your site, and leaves you a comment, it is polite to stop by his or her site and leave a comment in return. It is generally best to comment on his or her most recent post, and the comment should be relevant to that post’s topic. However, at the end of the comment, leave a simple expression of gratitude for his or her visit to and comment on your site. This need not be done for every comment every time, merely on someone’s first visit. It acknowledges his or her presence and makes your gratitude sufficiently clear.
On a related note, when you leave a comment on someone’s site for the first time, it is polite to let the author know how you found his or her site. Even if this means saying, “I happened to Google a set of random words that happened to send me here and I just happened to like what I read enough to post a comment,” bloggers appreciate knowing the origin of their visitor traffic. More often than not, this will mean acknowledging a link from another blogger’s site, which bloggers appreciate because it tells them about relationships and interactions within the blogosphere. It makes your connection to a given blogger more concrete, and he or she has a better context in which to frame your comment.The question of whether or not it is appropriate to link to yourself or your own posts within a comment on another blog is highly debated. For myself, I think that it is a matter of intention and presentation. If your intention is merely to "toot your own horn" and shamelessly promote yourself, this is generally inappropriate and should be avoided. (There are exceptions of course, such as when such self-promotion is specifically invited and/or is the normal accepted behavior of a given blog's comment forum.) However, if you want to link to yourself because you feel it is particularly relevant or helpful to your comment and the blogger's subject in general - e.g. you have written a post that contains information this blogger is specifically seeking - then I believe it completely acceptable and helpful to do so. As long as you present your link for what it is - a sincere attempt to assist a fellow blogger in some way, and not a selfish act - then no laws of courtesy will have been broken.
The issue of links from other bloggers and blogger relationships is also an important issue of courtesy. First of all, it is never acceptable in polite blogging society to disparage or insult another blogger and/or blog in your own blog. I feel mentioning this is unnecessary, however, as doing such a thing is generally acknowledged as and intended to be unkind. However, it is useful to keep this in mind in case you are ever uncertain about what you may be writing about another blogger / blog. Is it kind? Would you want it said about you? If those answers are not immediately “Yes,” then it might be best not to say it in such a public forum.
Secondly, when you do write about or reference another blogger / blog, it is polite to link to that site. This is a courtesy both to the author in question, as it acknowledges their work and potentially gives them new traffic; and your readers, as it offers them the opportunity to see first-hand the information you are referencing. When you do not link to the original author when you discuss him/her or his/her work, you are effectively leaving everyone “in the dark” – your readers do not have all the information available to be informed about your topic, and the other blogger(s) in question do not know that you are citing them. Bloggers deserve at least the opportunity to know what is being said about them or what works of theirs are being used by others in the blogosphere.
These are only a few of the myriad rules of courteous blogging. What rules do you feel should be included in the Emily (Blog) Post?
Day 9 of SaBloBoMo: How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot
I read this while I was in the hospital, both to fulfill a class assignment (read and report on a YA novel) and also to cheer myself up and pass the time in Looneyville. Great book. Meg Cabot's a hilarious writer, and the characters are funny and relateable. It was a quick read, too - one of those books you get easily into and just can't seem to leave. Plus, the main character's name is Steph Landry. How cool is that?
If you're in a frivolous and light-minded mood, you should definitely pick up this book. It'll have you laughing and feeling good in no time, even if you're feeling totally swallowed up by a gut-wrenching depression. Take my word for it.