Last month I published a post about the idea of ‘Blog Envy,’ which discussed ways in which we naturally feel envious of other blogs, and bloggers. During the comments that followed it was suggested that I examine the opposite – content that could be considered to be poor. While it’s an interesting idea, it’s far too controversial for my liking – the beauty of the blogging world is that it is an open forum to discuss whatever subject the author chooses, and there is no right or wrong way to do so.
However, it did get me thinking about the bloggers behind the posts. While I’ve had predominantly hugely positive experiences with the community, the longer I spend in the blogosphere the more I notice behaviour that I would contribute to what is often referred to as ‘The Dark Side’ of blogging, and I’ve spent the last few weeks collating examples.
1. Share and share alike.
It’s important to promote and interact with others if you want to build a community and expecting others to do your promotion work for you if you aren’t going to reciprocate is just plain rude. I do this regularly on the blog and through #SundayBlogShare on Twitter, and I have recently joined a Facebook group in which I get the opportunity to not only share my own links, but read lots from others. However, there are some that go above and beyond in their generosity when it comes to sharing and promoting others, and I have learnt that I need to perhaps do this more across my social media.
2. Credit others where credit is due.
Used someone else’s photograph? Been inspired by a particular idea? It’s always important to ask permission to use others content, and leave a link to their blog or website as part of your post.
3. Don’t drop a link somewhere and then leave.
My biggest annoyance during #SundayBlogShare is when a blogger shares a number of links from their site in a very short space of time, then leaves without reading and promoting anyone else. On the blog I never have a problem with others leaving links to relevant posts in their comments – I’ve found some fabulous blogs that way, but when people comment with ‘good post, follow me’ and a link to their site I am more than likely to dismiss it.
4. It’s not about the numbers.
Don’t base the quality of your interaction on the numbers another blogger has. I remember in my first few months of blogging I attempted to speak to someone on Twitter who had thousands of followers, and they shot me down as a little newbie pretty quickly. I’ve never forgotten that. I also know of several who will go out of their way to support the more popular bloggers, but are very ignorant of newer ones.
I remember a Twitter conversation that happened between two beauty bloggers during the ‘#BloggerBlackmail’ saga last month. Instead of examining both sides of the story and making a reasoned conclusion based upon the information given, there was a single tweet that summarised what was important to them:
‘Oh my god, she’s only got 80 followers on Bloglovin.’
This is what I despise about the blogging world – a judgement is made about the validity of the blog based on the size of the readership before a single word is even read.
Admittedly, I’m a self-proclaimed stats obsessive – always have been – and I make no apologies for this. For me, my numbers are important. My stats give me an indication of what has been successful or how I can improve, and since monetising my blog these have afforded me sponsorship and review opportunities. However, my stats are purely displayed for those purposes and are never used as a point of comparison to anyone else. I follow blogs that have tens, hundreds and thousands of readers, and I do so because I like them.
5. Be polite: reply to comments
If someone leaves a comment on your blog, do your best to reply, even if it takes a little time and all that needs to be said is ‘thank you.’ One in particular always springs to mind whenever I discuss this. To be fair, they have a truly beautiful blog – if I’m being honest I was in awe of their design and content of their posts when I stumbled upon it, and I immediately followed, as have thousands of others. However, I quickly realised that behind the facade was someone who had absolutely no interest in anyone but themselves, and their conversations consistently evolved around how brilliant and successful they are. There was no promotion of anyone’s posts, no replies to comments (indeed, they once stated that they didn’t have time to reply to the three comments they received on each post, and they felt it was a pointless task because all they needed to write was ‘thank you’ which was deemed a waste of time). It didn’t take me long to unfollow.
6. Similarly, visit other blogs as often as possible, and leave a meaningful, non-aggressive comment.
This is something that will forge connections with others and is one of the main things that I need to improve on – I have a core group of readers that consistently comment on almost every post, which I value very much. However, when leaving a comment, be careful not to be too aggressive in what you’re saying – it’s always difficult to gauge the tone of text, and there have been a number of occasions that I have received things where I have had to read it several times to work out whether the author is angry or just blunt. Similarly, if you disagree with what someone has written, don’t launch in there with guns blazing and be rude – I just delete any disrespectful comments without responding to them.
7. Try not to get too involved in cliques and politics.
There are millions of people to be met in the blogging world and while everyone has their favourites, don’t close yourself off to the inclusion of new people. When I first started Suzie Speaks in 2013, there were a core clique of blogs that everybody seemed to follow. This group, of which only one blogger now remains, were the ‘in crowd.’ It was deemed a privilege to receive comments from them – I witnessed message after message of gushy praise and such nonsense for the slightest acknowledgement. What I initially found confusing was that there was only one of these blogs that, in my opinion anyway, was worth reading – the majority of their interactions were for the purpose of banter, with an underlying cruel sense of humour that I didn’t understand. Some of these bloggers were openly rude or dismissive of others, and instead of calling them out on it, the object of their snide comments would laugh it off and continue in desperation to be accepted. That’s not the sort of community I wish to be part of. Keep yourself to yourself and don’t get involved.
However, after saying that…
8. Don’t belittle the work of others.
The beauty of blogging is that each one is unique, and therefore every post is valid. Of course, we all have our personal preferences – I get bored quickly if all I can see is inspirational quotes – but it isn’t anyone’s place to decide on what is valid and what isn’t. Constructive criticism may be given if requested, but, again, should be done so in a polite and respectful manner. If you don’t like something? Unfollow them!
9. Having a blog does not mean that you know everything about it.
Don’t take every opportunity to tell everyone how brilliant you are, while putting others down. I learn from others every day, and am never afraid to ask for help.
10. Most importantly, don’t blog when angry.
Blogging is a wonderful platform to vent, and I find that writing things down that have annoyed me is a fantastic form of therapy. However, take some time to calm down first, construct your post carefully, get a trusted person to proof read, and avoid throwing your toys out of the pram. You’re guaranteed to regret an aggressive post later on.
What about you guys? What do you consider to be poor blogging etiquette?
You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/suzie81speaks, my Pinterest page http://www.pinterest.com/suzie81speaks and my Instagram page http://www.instagram.com/suzie81speaks