The Waiting wrote a wonderful post on interweb interactions the other day and I’ve been wanting to throw my hat into the discussion ring for some time. I think there’s a lot to say on the subject. Yet, it’s also amazing how often basic etiquette gets ignored or even worse still when common sense is totally turned on its head.
Way back, in the earlier days of my blogging experience – a blogger named Angry Ricky wrote a post about commenting. I can’t seem to find it now, but the gist of it was: “a blog is like going into someone’s home…would you go into someone’s home and insult them?”
I tend to agree with that sentiment. Bloggers put a lot into their blogs. For the most part, they engage in this effort for little to no monetary gain. So, unless they directly ask you for criticism, why offer it? And especially, why offer it if you tend to provide your “sublime” criticism-dollop surrounded with a sugar cone of a**hole?
You may even be right. But, at what cost? At the cost of losing a good connection? At the cost of losing a devoted reader? Yep, a post may be too long. The frequency of posts may not be what you might do. SO WHAT?! Honestly, other people have different goals and ideas than you do. It’s that simple. So, get off Mount YOU and join the population of the humbly-grateful-you’re-reading-at-all.
Guess what, I’m not blameless. I’ve offered up criticism when it wasn’t asked for when I felt ‘closer’ to a blogger. BUT, I also was very clear to state, “I get that it’s your space and you can do whatever you want. I get that my thoughts might not be right for you and what you’re trying to accomplish.” Then, after adding my unsolicited advice, I WOULD BACK OFF. I backed off because -in essence- I was in the wrong. It is the writer’s space to do with as they wish and no one else’s.
Sometimes I think it’s better to go over what NOT to do then what to do. It brings forth a certain clarity.
So, based on my -nearly a year- of blogging experience, here are the NOTS:
Don’t be a RUNT. Okay, runt is not the word I really wanted to use. It simply rhymes with it. You would think not being a runt is common sense, but it’s not. If you’re having a bad day or you want to vent, either save it for your own post or unload it on your poor roommate. What you shouldn’t do is spread your nasty all over someone else’s page. It won’t win you any friends. Let’s move on.
Don’t take over a thread. Look, I LIKE comments that go back and forth and back and forth too. They are often lively conversations and they are fun to read. That’s not what I mean. What I mean is interjecting yourself into every single comment and conversation as if you are the blog owner, when you’re not. Same goes for insulting other people you disagree with who are commenting alongside of you.
Don’t sell too hard in the comments. I, for one, enjoy when people leave RELATED links back to their blogs or to posts they think I might like to read. That helps me to keep up with the good stuff. It’s like a curated blog-reading-list and I love it. But, I know there are A LOT of people who don’t like “sells” within their comments. I’ve seen other blog owners boot or moderate people for it. I suppose the thinking is, “I’ve created this space, it should be about my work.” That makes sense. I’m not so worried about it at my blog, so link away. But, I will say – no matter where you comment – a soft sell usually works best.
Don’t feel like you have to protect free speech like Paul Feckin’ Revere by approving everyone and their every opinion. Some people are just complete ass-hats. They don’t deserve to be in your sacred space. MODERATE THEM. It is your kingdom. Your house. Your blog. Protect it.
Now for the PLEASE-DO:
Do say something nice. I have received many comments through the course of this blog that have literally made my day. They have kept me going when posting day after day really felt like too much. I received one today, in fact, that put a smile on my face and made me feel like it was (is) all worth it. I mean, isn’t that awesome that you can affect someone that deeply even with just a few words in response to theirs? It’s kind of spectacular, actually.
The rest is really just common sense.
As for me, my one regret is that my posting schedule keeps me from reading more blogs. But, I can assure you – once my project is done, your blog will be visited. So, thank you for reading. As always, I’m very, VERY grateful.
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