I adore my boys and find the way they relate to the world fascinating. I also see a bit of myself in both of them. Like A, I struggle with anxiety in large groups of people and come off as socially awkward, or worse, a snob. Like Z, I easily discern the motivations of others and have difficulty holding my tongue. In the blogosphere, as in life, this means that I’ve had to muddle through and learn what is socially and unsocially acceptable the hard way.
- Ask permission before copying. Many bloggers are now posting Copyright criteria on their blogs. This is helpful for wading through what is/isn’t acceptable to a certain blogger. You may have noticed that I added my own copyright logo on my sidebar. You’ll understand why in a moment. If you like someone’s idea and want to post their pics or ideas on your blog, just ask permission first. More than likely they will be flattered that you like their idea, and rarely will anyone ever say no, but it’s just better to ask first. I’ve broken this rule many times out of laziness and sheer thoughtlessness. However, all it took was seeing a few of my own posts practically plagiarized on someone else’s blog to realize the importance of asking permission first. There was a link back to me, but it was one of those click “here” deals—which leads me to number 2… Edited to add: In the comments section, the general consensus seems to be that a link to the original post is all that is necessary and permission need to be acquired first. Most also agree that an after-the-fact courtesy email stating that you will/have linked to them is nice, but also not necessary.
- Link back with blogger’s name AND blog name. For the most part, just get rid of “here”. I have often said “picture can be found here” or “for more click here” with a link on the word here. I still find myself doing this. I thought this was a perfectly acceptable way of linking things. That is, again, until I saw my entire post that I slaved over lifted and then linked so minorly. All of my personal pictures and some of my words were lifted and then linked with a “more can be found here” in small print, at the very end of the post. I was also referred to as “some random blog” which hurt my feelings. Obviously this blogger wasn’t trying to make a personal attack, to the contrary she loved my ideas and wanted to share them with others. I confronted her with my feelings and she was more than willing to change her wording. This situation helped to open MY eyes as to how we refer to each other’s blogs. None of us are “random”. We’re purposeful. So, when linking back I think it’s good to say “found this cute idea by Beth @ The Stories of A to Z ” instead of just “here”.
- When possible, link to the original source AND the source that led you there. What do you do if you see someone else’s idea posted on a site and you want to feature that idea too? I say try to get permission from the original source and link BOTH sources. I had a situation recently where many people were featuring one of my ideas with my pictures, but linking only to the source where they found my idea. They didn’t include a link to my page. This indirectly made it seem like it was the other blogger’s idea instead of my own. Blogland is so wonderful because we freely share our creativity, tutorials, and ideas. But we’re all human and would like credit for our ideas. I think it’s okay to want credit for discovering and featuring those ideas too. Just site all and link, link, link. It will make everyone happy and doesn’t really take that much extra time (i.e. idea and pictures from Beth @ The Stories of A to Z found via Suchandsuch Blog).
- Keep your unsolicited advice to yourself. As I previously stated, I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut. Sometimes I like to be “helpful” and let others know what I think would really make their project even more fabulous. If I have commented on your blog with such “helpful” advice, please forgive me. If I’ve said to make your blog pictures bigger, or to move things from here to there, forgive me. I’m learning. In commenting, unless someone has explicitly asked for your advice on something, just be positive or don’t comment at all. AND….
- Negative Anonymous commentors need not comment. Remember what you learned in preschool? If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all? It still applies. And seriously, if you just have to say something negative and mean then at least have the “decency” to own it with your name and profile. Being ‘anonymous’ is cowardly.
- Add your email to your profile for easy communicating. This isn’t so much of an etiquette tip as it is a blogger tip. I have replied to hundreds (thousands?) of emails without realizing that I was just replying to the “firstname.lastname@example.org” mythical inbox in the sky. If you’ve wondered why I didn’t get back to you with your question, I probably did. You just never received my email. If you add your email to your profile, everyone can easily reply to you without having to look you up. Please consider doing this!
- Return a comment for a comment??? Not always possible. When I had fifty followers, I would often wonder why some bloggers would never visit my blog and return a comment for a comment. I really wanted people to come for a visit and see some of my projects. Everyone loves comments, but now I understand why some bloggers never had a chance to visit. They were just too busy. I finally started inviting some bloggers in a personal email (not blog comment) to visit a particular post that I was especially proud of. If you have ever thought to yourself, why doesn’t she ever visit my blog??? I recommend emailing the blogger and inviting her over. Not everyone is going to be able to return each of your comments for a comment. Some bloggers would never be able to leave their computers if they did! Don’t take it personally.
- Respect boundaries. I recently had a blog friend ask me for advice in dealing with a boundary issue with someone who knew her through her blog. This person looked her up on facebook and sent her a message to her facebook account. This made my friend very uncomfortable. I had to laugh (and friend, you’re going to laugh when you read this) but early on in blogging I also violated this. exact. boundary. I searched for a blogger who I adore and asked to be her facebook friend. She didn’t really know me at all and her facebook page was not open to her readers. This was clearly a boundary violation and although I sent her a message saying “I’ll understand if you’re scared of my stalker-like behavior and don’t want to be my friend…” I shouldn’t have done it. Rule of thumb, if you don’t have a good back and forth blog relationship established, don’t facebook, skype, snail-mail or call them. You WILL look like a stalker.
- Remember you’re a guest. When you visit someone’s blog, you’re in their “home”. Use the same manners you would as a guest in someone’s house. Again, I struggle with this. I’m not always gracious in thanking those hosting blog parties. I don’t always thank the giver when entering giveaways. My comments are sometimes lame and self-promoting (i.e. that’s so cute, I did the same thing with blah, blah, blah, blah….). I sometimes just skim pictures and don’t thoughtfully read the words. I’m often a horrible guest.
I’m still learning social graces. Forgive me (and tell me), if I’ve offended you along the way.
So how about you? What do you think of the list? Anything to add? Edit? Omit? Let’s talk!