I’ve read several articles lately about etiquette in the blogosphere. Etiquette, in terms of blogging however, falls into that reoccurring category of “You can’t make everyone happy.”
I think that this is a subject that has the potential to hurt feelings, and in no way is that the purpose of this post. I hope that the comments section today turns into a true discussion of this subject, and veers from openly hurtful jabs at others.
Let’s start with the subject of comments.
Here in the blogosphere, there is a “rule” (not sure if it’s written or unwritten) that returning comments to those who’ve visited your blog is necessary…and expected.
While I agree that people should try to reciprocate comments, it is not always feasible. With life’s responsibilities, a person may not have time to return comments in a timely manner. I know that I’ve lost readers because I didn’t reciprocate with leaving a comment at their site. Does this bother me? Sure, a little. I don’t want someone to comment here, though, simply because they are expecting me to return the favor. I also don’t want to allow the hours it would require to reciprocate EVERY comment to interfere with time with my children and husband. Also, it’s typically not a reflection of YOU if someone doesn’t return the favor of commenting. More likely it is just a busy life that prevents them from reciprocating.
One way that I make up for my lack of commenting is to promote blog posts I read via Stumbleupon, sharing it in my Google Reader widget, or Twittering about the post (as mentioned in the BTSP 7: Building Your Community).
Also in regards to commenting, I’ve received comments from people saying things like, “oh you’ll never read this, but…” and every time I want to reply back, “Of COURSE I read every comment! Is there anybody who doesn’t??” I think that there is a misconception that those who get LOTS of comments don’t really read them. I can’t imagine that there is a person out there who doesn’t read their comments, although I’m sure there are a small handful. Comments are what all bloggers thrive upon, to me it’s counterintuitive that someone WOULDN’T read them.
Moving along to linking.
My general opinion of linking to other’s blogs is this: Do it often! Be generous! Don’t be intimated to link to bloggers you feel have more traffic or are more popular! Link to posts you admire and relate to the subject of your post for the day. There certainly is a fine line between linking to those you admire for the sake of generosity and linking to others as bait.
I do think that if someone has linked to you (you can see most links on Technorati or WhoLinksToMe.), it’s nice to drop by and leave a comment. Is it necessary? No. If you don’t will you hurt someone’s feelings? Possibly. Should you lose sleep over this? NO.
I think that the biggest faux pas in relation to linking is NOT linking to someone you are talking about. If you are going to specifically name someone in your post, you really need to insert a link to their site.
Memes and Awards
When I first started blogging, I adored being tagged for memes and getting awards. Once you’ve been around the blogosphere for awhile, though, most likely you have participated in every meme known to man. Also, days when a meme is posted tend to be low traffic days for most people. For me, I prefer not to participate in memes since it takes a lot of effort to write them and you get very little return for the time invested.
If you wish to participate in memes, though, that is perfectly fine! It is also perfectly fine to tag others for the meme, but don’t get your feelings hurt when people don’t play along.
As for awards, it is always kind to give out awards. The recipient of the award may or may not choose to pass along the award. Also they may or may not the display the award. This is again one of those situations where you shouldn’t get your feelings hurt if someone doesn’t play along.
How about a discussion of Twitter etiquette?
Maggie Mason recently wrote an article pertaining to twitter etiquette over at The Morning News. This article has several thought-provoking points (as much as Twitter can be thought provoking..heh). While I personally agree with several of the points, I think it’s important to realize that not everyone uses Twitter in the same way.
Following those that follow you: Touchy subject, I know. For me, the purpose of Twitter for me is to get to know people and follow links posted. Therefore, I follow almost everyone who follows me. On the same token, it’s not necessary to follow back those that follow you, however if you want to seem accessible, it IS the nice thing to do.
There are people using Twitter only to keep in touch with those they really KNOW. Additionally, there’s a whole other set of people who only follow those that they deem cool enough. *shrugs shoulders* None of us should get our panties in a wad if someone doesn’t follow us back. If you’re really bothered by someone not following you back, then simply UNfollow them.
Speaking of Unfollowing…See above about not getting our panties in a wad. Also, remember that Twitter gets hosed up OFTEN and unfollows people for you. I’ve discovered that Twitter has unfollowed LOTS of people for me. Try not to let it bother you if someone unfollows you, it was quite possibly unintentional.
Promoting yourself on Twitter. As I’ve already mentioned, people use Twitter for different reasons, one being promoting new blog posts. For some, this is their sole purpose for using Twitter. If this annoys you, then unfollow them. To me, I don’t care how others choose use Twitter (unless they are EVIL Twitter SPAMMERS…GRRR.)
I’m certain that I could write an entire novel on this subject of etiquette in the blogosphere. Hopefully I’ve made the point that 1) you can’t make everyone happy and 2) don’t get your feelings hurt over things that do (or don’t ) happen in the blogosphere.
Blogging…it’s supposed to be FUN, right? Perspective…
Discuss amongst yourselves.
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