Tuesday, May 8, 2012

blogging etiquette.

on a daily basis i read about ten newspaper articles, twenty wikipedia pages, sixteen to thirty different blogs (number of posts varies), view hundreds of facebook statuses, look at thousands of pictures (thank you pinterest!), and go through innumerable twitter posts. that is taking in a lot of information!

as a blogger and self-proclaimed social media enthusiast, i try to share the best crop of that information with you: via twitter, facebook, and this blog [follow me!].

because this is a space where i like to share what i'm learning or being taught i thought this would be a good subject to share - something i have been learning to deal with both as the producer (blog writer) and the consumer (blog reader).

these points are a consolidation of friend's advice, online research, and my personal mandate:

1. change your focus
as a blogger, Christian, and someone who's ministry-minded, i'm always thinking about others. and i mean that selfishly. because i'm aware that when i share a link to something it's because i know other people will like and respond, and i mostly do that because i want the attention and affirmation of being the one to share it. but if i am to focus less on other people, and more on myself [which is ironic, as a christian, i know] then i will not be looking to please someone else, but doing it because it's something i enjoy and something i believe God has blssed me to do: to write, to research, to communicate, even to read. changing your perspective and focus on this can not only help you remain sane and prevents burnout but it also allows you to continue enjoying doing it.

2. it can't just be take, take, take all the time
with the massive amounts of information we can view online, we forget that someone originally had to take the time and energy to pull that information together. it's very easy to go from blog to blog to blog to blog reading their archives but never commenting. but that's sort of like going into someone's home, walking around, and never saying "hi" to the homeowner, sitting at the kitchen table, watching and waiting for you to introduce yourself. elaborate metaphor, yes, but particularly when it comes to blogs [not just this one, all of them] it is someone's own "space", their little corner of the universe, where they are often sharing intimate, personal things about themselves from behind a computer screen. if someone spoke some of those things to your face you wouldn't just get up and leave, you would be forced to respond! maybe i'm weird but i am fascinated by how people come to the blog. on a particular widget i can see what countries people are reading from! [hello from canada by the way!!] but in saying that i know that 50 people (for example) are reading my blog in a day, and not a single one will comment. i'm biased, but that doesn't really seem fair. since a certain conversation with a friend about blogtiquette, i always make it a point to say hi, or to thank the author for a great post (or both). not only does it help affirm the author and let them know i appreciate what they wrote, but it also connects me with that someone. over time that can grow into an online friendship, perhaps offline too.

3. don't just use comments to self-promote
in my younger blogging days [ie: a few months ago haha] i saw people commenting, just saying "hi. like your blog. check out mine. www.partyanimal69.com", so i had a moment (or two) of doing the same thing to others. but as i became more connected i realized how annoying that is. as much as i appreciate them taking the second to comment, that little diddy doesn't really convince me you actually read anything on my blog. admittedly, my comments to others are quite short. i'm more of a processor, than a debator, so i often will go in, after actually reading the whole blog, and say "hi! fantastic post! thank you for sharing!" - simple and sweet but geniune - and continue thinking about the post later. for certain bloggers i feel more comfortable with i might personalize it more, or feel bold enough to share some advice, criticism, or references with them. i always think about the saying of how most people don't like unwelcome advice, so i want to build a blogging relationship with someone before i lovingly provoke or question them. i know i would not want someone randomly coming on my blog, commenting, "why did you say this? what makes you believe this?" or some other christian-y remark [which is actually always my fear] so i try not to do that to others.

4. ask yourself, "does this post add to the conversation?"
this is something i have had to learn over the years. i used to think a blog was where i could just rant and ramble about stuff but now i strive to be a bit more put together. because i largely see this blog and its respective facebook page as a ministry tool, i hope that what is posted here and there will help to spark some thought, conversation, idea, and that God will use what is written or shared to convict or encourage. that being said, it is important to take the time to process what is written so that it is not rushed or undesirably offensive. sometimes you may strive for "offensive" or provoking, but even then time and reflection must be done so that a post does more building up, and is effective, than tearing down.

5. don't compare your blog to another's
a friend of mine, gillian, wrote a great, simple blog post recently about what she values most about blogging [read it here!] one of her points was "don't compare". this is very sound advice. it's easy with the surplus of similar blogs out there to try to shape yourself to be like one of them. i personally feel comfortable with my blog as it is, and i look forward to how it will grow and mature with me, but i have experienced those times of transition when everyone else seems to be on to something so much better than me in the blogosphere. the simple fact is that you are not them, and they are not you. it is important to create a blog that is authetically you. find your special niche, your subject of choice, and figure out how you wish to promote or achieve it. when you acknowledge how your blog is uniquely yours and what is characteristically uniquely yours about it, then you will see how comparing yourself to others is fleeting and dissatisfying.

6. do unto others as you'd have them do unto you
this basically summarizes points 2 and 3 but like everything in life, this applies. i know many people do not care for response in the same way that i admittedly do. thus, they wouldn't be bothered if no one read or commented on their [secret] blog. but i think that's where you need a bit of empathy. like i mentioned in point #2, a blog is something very personal, so if you're going to peer into their window, at least ring the doorbell and say hi.

for some more blogging or blog etiquette tips, check out these links:
"blog etiquette or blogtiquette" from tip junkie
"5 signs your blog comment etiquette may need to improve" by mandy barrington
"a few things" from gillian nicole
"blogtiquette" archive from a daily dose of toni

image from pinterest


  1. Thank you Allie for writing this! I whole-heartedly agree with you on every one of these. I too find it frustrating when I look at the count of how many are actually reading my blog and then consider the amount of comments. You'd think over a hundred views would warrant more than 8 or 9 comments. That's like... only 10% of the audience is telling me if they like the post or not. I don't really bother checking out the people who are the self-promoters because I don't think they bother reading the content in the first place, you know? I feel like some of them come in and go straight to the comment box and then leave. I definitely need to get better with numbers 4&5 though =)

  2. @Natalie well natalie, if it helps you at all, i definitely think you're contributing to the conversation. i ALWAYS leave your blog thinking about SOMETHING. even if it's just the new dave barnes album (which i love btw!). and i appreciate YOU for always being one of the people that takes the moment to comment. i always look forward to your reactions!

  3. Allie! this is a great post and one that I'll read often!
    Number one is good.
    mi,ber 5 is such a convicting reminder for LIFE in general
    don't compare your life to another's :)

  4. I agree with Hannah - definitely some good perspective on life in general. Thanks for the post Ali. I'm new to your blog and have enjoyed the peek into your life.

  5. @Kathy Slessor i'm glad you visited Kathy! you rock! :)

  6. ooh, Allie. this is good. i hadn't thought of not commenting being like walking into someone's house and not speaking, but i love that metaphor! since i now feel like this post urging that commenting is like you offering me coffee and telling me to sit down and feel like home, i think i will for a lil, so here goes: i've been blogging for five years next tuesday, and from what you've said it sounds like you've not been blogging that long. and here's what i love about blogging: it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter how long or short we've been here because we all have something to say and we all contribute when we take the time to think and write carefully. so thank you for that. thank you for teaching me. i'm looking forward to learning more from you. :]


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