Bloggers Behaving Badly

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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

309 thoughts on “Bloggers Behaving Badly

  1. I feel that all bloggers have something to offer, and if you don’t like a post, don’t read it. There’s no reason to comment and be rude or nasty. Say nothing (be kind). I always answer every comment even if I just say “thanks”. If they took the time to write, I can take the time to reply.

    • Thanks Donna! I totally agree – it takes me a bit of time as I try and keep up, but I always do my best! I don’t understand why people will continue to read a blog if all they’re going to do is post negative comments!

      • Without a doubt it’s people leaving links to their own blog on linkups without reading or sharing other bloggers’ posts. My personal pet peeve is bloggers who can’t be bothered to read and comment on posts of those who take the time to read and comment on their blogs. Even if you don’t choose to follow a blogger, if they take their time to interact multiple times on your blog it isn’t asking too much for you to pay them a visit or two in return.

      • I agree – it really annoys me during Twitter parties when people do that… I think the problem lies when you get an large amount of comments, and then it’s a question of time more than anything else…

  2. Blogging is generally awesome. I am really lucky to have a small but cheerfully wonderful little network and have sidestepped the haters and the ‘cliques’. Whilst I’ll never be an online superstar, I absolutely love our little corner of the blogosphere. Posts like this remind me how lucky I am 🙂

  3. Couldn’t agree more! I’m baffled that there are people out there who needed reminding of these basic rules of etiquette. Although, I do know of one writer who told me they will not read anyone else work as it “affects my own voice”, yet is constantly promoting their own work on Twitter and WP.
    In my opinion, a real writer reads other writers. End of!
    I always reply to comments, as I feel genuinely grateful that someone took the time to post one. And I only ever leave positive feedback on other people’s blogs too. Why be mean when you don’t have to?
    A great post, (once again!), Suzie.
    I’m tweeting this!
    Kat x

  4. Great post! I haven’t had too many negative experiences mostly because I learned early on that if someone follows me, and I’m not interested in their blog, I’m not obligated to follow them. I do however, always thank someone for following, and at the very least take a look at their blog and find something nice to say about it.

    • I recently had a blog ‘cull’ in which I unfollowed a number of blogs that haven’t posted for months, and in some case, years. I need to follow your idea and go and take more of a look at lots of new blogs!

      • Thank you – I wasn’t aware that I had unfollowed you at any point until I clicked on your blog. That’s happened to me a few times now – I’ve had messages from rather offended bloggy friends who were wondering why I wasn’t following them anymore, yet I hadn’t unfollowed them at any point!

  5. Thank you, Suzie, you reminded me of a great quote from a Woody Allen movie that featured Ernest Hemingway giving advice to a young novelist, and expressing his own writer’s envy. Love this post, and the comments that followed. Blog on !!! ☺

  6. Great read Suzie – it’s always good to be reminded of these things. I enjoy setting aside time to read through blogs and am always inspired by people’s creativity. You are one I always like to read although I may not always leave a comment. 🙂

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  8. Build community, build each other up, use common sense, be kind, respect the voice of other writers…be the reader and blogger you want others to be to you… well put, Suzie. Thanks for reminding us!

  9. Really thoughtful post, Suzie. Thinking about your last point, I couldn’t help thinking that my most popular post to date has been one in which I vented about something. Having said that, I didn’t just write it and post it straight away. It went through at least two edits before I was happy to press “publish”. So I conclude that strong feelings are good, but outright nastiness is bad.

    • I’d agree with that Graeme! I think it depends on what you’re ranting about, and who/what it is directed at… Saying that, my rant about a family member led to her reading it, becoming upset about the way she’d made me feel, and this has resulted in our relationship is better now than it has been in years!

  10. This post is so helpful. Being a newbie I’m already finding #5 all too often. But still dancing in the muck with this whole blogging thing… I don’t see #11 on there, though. “Never blog when drunk” teehee…

  11. Suzie, this is so great, helpful and informative! Some of if I already knew, while others is pretty much common sense, but it’s always nice to have that refresher.:)

  12. I started blogging in 2007, and back then the blogging world was somewhat small, and yes, the cliques were rampant. But there seemed to be a place for everyone. Now there seems to be so many blogs about “how to create/write/monetize/visual content” you blog, which, for me, is making this blogging experience easier. I feel like I have so much support. So thank you for this, and I look forward to more. I do have to share that I get the mean blogger thing. Way back when I blogged, there had been this one situation where another blogger and myself had written an almost identical post on the exact same day. Pure coincidence, but she promptly tweeted what a fraud I was, and even wrote a blog post about my lack of imagination. So yeah, a deep breath and some time made it such that I didn’t reciprocate with an even more immature post.

    • Aww Sandra what a horrible experience to have! It’s happened to me a few times where I’ve posted a similar idea at the same time as someone else, but nobody has ever said anything negative. I have, however, had bloggers that have completely stolen an idea, and in one case, used exactly the same format and sentence structure of several posts. I didn’t waste my time challenging them on it – but when they came to me a while later to ask for promotion I ignored them.

  13. I am not a blogger, but enjoy other bloggers article and to learn how to write better and do the things one should do and be happy. So thank you for yours. Enjoyed it much and will re-blog it.

  14. Yay! I actually appear to be following most of these rules. I personally would add: “Don’t do drive-by likes on dozens of blogs without reading the posts, just to get return traffic.”

    • Ooh yes I’d agree with that… They aren’t rules as such, more guidelines I suppose – there needs to be some sort of intro when someone starts a new blog, but everyone works differently…

  15. Pingback: Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy… | Suzie Speaks

  16. I’ve been blogging for about a year and a half now, and will admit to making a number of etiquette mistakes early on (hopefully better now though). My main issue is time – I write mainly for me and to get thoughts and ideas out. Like anyone, I hope people see and read, but I don’t really do much to “grow” my blog.

    Early on I spent more time looking up new blogs in areas of interest to follow. I still do that a bit, but now I largely find new blogs through either people following me (I will always check the blog of someone who follows or comments on my blog, read a few articles, and if I like it follow). I also find other blogs through comments.

    I think there is often more valuable information in the comment section of a blog than in the blog itself (that’s a reflection on great dialogue and not a knock on blog content). When reading comments, if I see something I like I will check out the blogger and read through some of their stuff.

    When I follow someone, I try to read or at least skim everything. The biggest issue there is, sometimes I don’t get to my reader for a few days. And with even a few hundred blogs being followed, it’s easy to miss some things.

    • It depends on what you want to do with your blog. If you want to purely write for yourself, then you’re doing the right thing (love your blog), but if you want to grow your readership then networking needs to be as important as posting… I know what you mean about the number of blogs and posts missed. I only follow about 150 on WordPress, just because I can’t keep up with the posts otherwise. However, I follow thousands on social media…

      • Yes, I agree with that. For me it’s a question of time. I have young family, and am involved in a number of different things.

        Due to other commitments I can’t really put the appropriate amount of time into growing it. That said, I try to read as much as I can and when I read posts that resonate in some way I make a point of commenting.

        I know I appreciate any comments on my blog, so I try to do the same for others.

  17. Yes, yes, yes to this advice – except for the last one – I love writing when I’m upset because it’s helpful to vent, I write like mad and I’m thankful for the outlet.

    I’ve always had a difficult time navigating the blogging world because it can be overwhelming, clique-ish (very!) and just something that would distract me from doing my own thing. I know that I’ve missed out on the opportunity to develop friendships and to network and so forth, and that’s an unfortunate thing.

    • It can be full of cliques, but there’s never a point where you’ve missed the opportunity to connect with other people – I love the community here… Why don’t you try talking to a few people this week and see what happens? I’d love to hear how you get on!

  18. Oh no! 😉 I just wrote a post about comments. Ah, well. This is excellent. And so true. I love all of these. Especially #2, 3, 4, 7, 8…I’m sorry. I was right before. All of them.

    • I read it yesterday, and thought it was spot on – it’s important to reply in my opinion, but if you have another post to go up that should stop you from doing so! Thanks Sarah, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I will be commenting on yours asap – I do read your blog a lot (I love it) but need to comment more!

  19. I completely agree with this advice. That being said, I’ve violated a few of these rules. Lately, I’ve become very frazzled. I haven’t been keeping up with replying to comments like I should. I’ve also blogged when angry (despite the fact that I’ve given advice not to do so) and I haven’t been visiting blogs like I used to. I really need to do better. Thank you for the reminder!

  20. Suzie these are wonderful points to note in blogging. There’s no wrong leading here and everything is very genuine. Thank you for the tips. Though I’ve completed a year blogging, I’m still learning the trick of the trade.

    • Thanks so much – I’m really pleased you liked it! Congrats on your year bloggers are too – hope you’re having lots of fun with it! It’s addictive isn’t it haha!

      • Absolutely addictive. I try so hard not to just make up any post just for the sake of it. It’s like a personal diary after all. I want my blog to be full of quality, like yours 🙂

      • Aww thanks – what a lovely thing to say! When I first started I desperately wanted to write, so I posted everything and anything as often as I could. A year later, I deleted about half of it because it was rubbish, but the process of getting everything out made me feel so much better!

  21. Suzie, I really enjoyed your posts and the comments that followed.
    The hardest part I have and it is my fault …..I can’t keep up with all of the blogs I follow.
    I went crazy at first and followed quite a few. Then others started following me so I followed them.
    I follow more and more. I get more followers and the cycle never ends.
    I was going crazy at first.
    Still do at times.
    Now I answer my comments each and every day, except when I am bed ridden which happens more and more lately.
    Then I read as many blogs as I can that I haven’t been to in awhile.
    Of course there are a lot of ones I message daily or every couple of days.
    Still, a lot of blogs I have followed are never seen unless they visit me, I hate that part of it.
    I can’t bring myself not to follow a blog if they follow me. Or not follow a new one when I like it.
    I love sharing others work and my blog is meant for that.
    I started it as a page on Facebook as a way my sharing and saving what I liked.
    Sorry about the ramble.
    Have a wonderful weekend.
    Sarah

    • Hi Sarah, thanks so much for your epic comment! I started off like that, but about six months in i realised that i couldn’t keep up with the blogs i was following, so now i follow about 200. Its a bit of a contenscious subject – I’m followed by a generous number of people, and there’s no way that i could follow that amount in return, but this has put a number of people off after a while and they have unfollowed because they feel I’m not interested, which isn’t the case. That’s why i share so many posts during #SundayblogShare on Twitter, because i find it easier to read a higher number on there…

  22. I stopped participating in blog linkups (minus SITS) because it seems liked people were just dropping links and running. There are actually people you can hire who will drop your link in a set number of blog linkups! I blog because of the community and engagement — how can I possibly expect people to engage with my own content if I’m not doing the same? Great post, and now I’m curious to see what this #BloggerBlakcmail saga is.

  23. Having come over from the Sits share fest, I feel like I passed a test of sorts. What is nice about this blogging world is that there are so many great and helpful people out there that you really don’t have to bother with the selfish ones. Or the poor writing, boring, full-of-themself ones.

    I create angry posts in my head, usually while running, so that by the time I put fingers to keyboard I’ve worked it through mentally and I can write in a calm and controlled tone. Being bitchy, unless you’re really funny too, doesn’t bring readers or solve anything.

    • Ooh I love that! Some people have a knack of using sarcasm in a really clever way, but some are just plain rude. I find that i get post ideas when i run, but by the time I get home to write them down, I’ve forgotten about them! I love SITS!

  24. I love all of these, Suzie, but especially #4. I realize that when you have a huge following, it is really hard to respond to every tweet, link, etc., but it is so nice when you can. The online community is in many ways a level playing field, not a high school popularity contest. I was so shocked when Chip and Joanna Gaines (FixerUpper) and Darren Rowse (ProBlogger) replied to a couple my tweets! Twitter is obviously not blogging, but it is the same principle. If the number of our followers ever gets “up there,” it is important to remember they didn’t start there! 🙂 Sharing this thoughtful post! #SITSSharefest

    • Such a great comment Wendy, thanks! I totally agree – everyone is on the same level because we are all essentially doing the same thing. It’s such a buzz though when we get a reply from someone really popular though isn’t it haha!

  25. Wow. Lots to think about here. I particularly like what you said about numbers. Actually when I see huge numbers (without knowing the background of how they got there) I get a bit suspicious.

    • Numbers are often misleading because social media is taken into account within the number of readers… I know of very large blogs that use different startegies that work for them, but i’m yet to try a lot of them!

  26. Annnd you just reminded me I need to be catching up on replying to comments today! I definitely agree that bloggers should be supportive of one another. Sharing others work gets you noticed and people will then share yours. Blogging can be a great community if you allow it to be, for sure!

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  28. Hello Suzie, wishing you a wonderful Autumn. I love the way you move the blogging discussions forward in a useful style! I agree that the good thing about blogging is that it is an open forum. The Sunday blog share is an inspiration. Enjoy a lovely Sunday.

  29. Good to read this Suzie, I don’t really consider myself to be a blogger, though I have a blog but I find it very time consuming when I’m meant to be doing other writing – however I enjoy reading and sharing the posts of others where I can – again time consuming as there is so much great stuff out there and I just want to get to it all 🙂

    • I can get lost in creating and reading blog posts for hours, so i have to be careful about my time when i know I have a lot to do! Thanks Georgia, really pleased you liked it!

  30. Dear Suzie. Thank you for this blog. I am new to the world of blogging and I am currently finding my feet in it. I find blog posts like “Bloggers behaving badly” help me make up for lost time and to familiarize myself with blogging culture. Thank you for the education! I look forward to reading more of your posts 😉 Warm regards, Fred.

    • Thank Fred! I’m pleased you found it useful, and welcome to the blogging world! It’s a very supportive place, and i’ve made a number of new friends here who have helped me through some very difficult times… Enjoy!

  31. Great tips. Resisted blogging for a long time (so many voices, so little time). Now that I’m finally dipping more than my toes into the stream, these kinds of pointers are much appreciated. Cheers.

  32. As a blogger of just under a year it has been a steep learning curve! I have to say I agree with so much of what you write, and yet it really is so uncommon for the “bigger” blogs in particular to reply to comments or return a read, and I’m talking blogs I’ve visited and commented on multiple times, so like you I do start to feel like “Why bother?” I get that they must be busy but I have been lucky to find smaller blogs like mine that do make an effort to read other people’s blogs and leave thoughtful comments. I find it really encouraging,and I can’t help but wonder if it’s a bit soulless/lonely at the top! 😉

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