Our monthly column, About Blogging, is back! Melanie Nelson, is joining our 5 Minutes for Mom team as our new About Blogging columnist.
Melanie is an experienced (and fantastic!) blogger who answers your basic blogging questions M-F at Blogging Basics 101. She also hosts giveaways from outstanding vendors at Bloggy Giveaways. And, as if that doesn’t keep her busy enough, she also blogs about her daily life at Don’t Try This at Home. We are honored to have her writing here at 5 Minutes for Mom!
by Melanie Nelson
Melanie answers your basic blogging questions every week day at Blogging Basics 101.
Emily Post is our go-to gal for etiquette in the every-day world. What about our virtual world, though? Is it fair to say we need rules of etiquette here as well?
Blogging etiquette is something I am asked about frequently. There are those who never considered such a thing and who, upon learning of it, are intrigued and want to know more. Then there are those who want to make sure they are not offending another blogger. And so the questions pour in:
- Is it OK to lurk on a blog?
- Is it rude to ask for reciprocal links?
- Should I respond to all comments left at my blog?
- How should I reply to comments–with a personal e-mail or in the comments section?
- Should I correct a blogger’s typos in the comments?
- What if I disagree with the blogger’s point of view? Should I still leave a comment?
- Is it OK to link to someone even if you don’t know them?
As you can imagine, these are just a few of the questions out there. I’ll answer these questions (and I do, on a regular basis, at Blogging Basics 101), but first I want to give a blanket answer that is true for just about everything:
This virtual world we’ve built allows us a bit of anonymity. We may feel like we can write anything we want because we aren’t face to face with the other person. Remember that words are tools to express your thoughts and feelings. They can be used to hurt and to help. Remember that tone is a hard thing to express with words only. Without your body language to back it up, your comment may be misconstrued.
I tell you these things not to frighten you into never commenting or joining in the discussion of a blog, but to remind you to think before you type.
Now, let’s get to answering those etiquette questions.
Is it OK to lurk on a blog? Yes. Although comments are always appreciated, it’s OK to lurk on a blog. Throw them a bone every once in a while, though, and say hi.
Is it rude to ask for reciprocal links? This is a hard one to answer because there are two schools of thought. I do not like to be asked for reciprocal links–especially by someone I do not know. I do not like to trade links. I like to decide for myself who I will link to.
Should I respond to all comments left at my blog? In theory, this is a great idea. I have had to become better about this myself. I tend to be introverted online as well as off-line so I don’t like to engage in conversations much–it intimidates me. However, I have found that responding to comments encourages people to leave comments more frequently and has made my own little bloggy community grow.
In addition, leaving comments at the blogs you visit helps your own visibility in the blogosphere.
How should I reply to comments–with a personal e-mail or in the comments section? You can do either. I prefer to answer with personal e-mails instead of in the comments section. Do what works best for you. If you are receiving the same question or comment repeatedly, you may want to go ahead and respond in the comment section so everyone can find your answer.
Should I correct a blogger’s typos in the comments? NO! Although we all like to post the perfectly edited post every day, we are all going to make mistakes. We’ll use their instead of they’re. Or we’ll misspell something. Unless it’s part of a button or banner (or something equally important), just ignore it. If it’s truly driving you crazy or you know the person would want to know, send them a quick personal e-mail.
What if I disagree with the blogger’s point of view? Should I still leave a comment? If you have been reading and commenting at a blog and feel that you have a rapport with that community, leave the comment. If you’re unsure, don’t leave the comment, or, you can send a personal e-mail to the blogger.
I personally love to hear different opinions. However, I have commented with a dissenting opinion at other blogs and my comments have been deleted.
If you are polite in your disagreement, you can add to the discussion. I believe most bloggers appreciate this. The key is to be non-confrontational.
Is it OK to link to someone even if you don’t know them? Of course! Bloggers LOVE to be linked to! It means they may receive more traffic. And traffic may mean more comments. And bloggers live for comments, don’t we?