Technology today allows almost anyone to be an active participant in the world of communication. But, who sets and enforces the rules of the Internet? Shouldn’t some things just be common sense? Posting a blog or commenting on a blog should involve etiquette that even the most inexperienced blogger should understand. After thinking about some of my experiences with blogging, several suggestions came to mind.
The type of language people use because they feel they are anonymous is disturbing. If the average person treated a post or comment as though they were talking to someone they cared deeply for, many of the posts and comments would never exist. My favorite issues involving blog posts and comments are fowl, rude and vulgar language. For some bloggers, using fowl language on a blog post or comment makes them feel more powerful, or at least we assume that to be the case. I often wonder if the same point could have been made and be “G-rated.” It is important to understand that the Internet has audiences of all ages, genders, ethnicities and opinions. By avoiding inappropriate language, people’s posts or comments will contribute to blog etiquette.
Along with appropriate language, bloggers must realize that certain subjects are not easily accepted by the masses as public information. In past experiences, I have found that the more controversial subjects do generate more traffic and in turn, comments. The problem with controversial posts is many of the comments may be contradictive to your post. Should you allow them to remain on your blog page? Most bloggers do allow comments, even if they are contradictory. You can’t have meaningful communication without senders, receivers, messages and feedback; if you eliminate feedback, you also eliminate meaningful communication. If you are going to submit a post or comment on a blog, remember that a blog post is a public conversation. No one wants to be interrupted by someone that has nothing to contribute to the conversation. If the information that you want to contribute is better suited somewhere else, be polite and post it where it belongs. By avoiding really touchy subjects, making sure your comment or post contributes to the conversation, and allowing contradictory comments to your posts, your blog can promote good blog etiquette.
Blogs contain information of all sorts every day, but most successful blogs contain accurate information. Accuracy is probably one of the most important points to remember when posting or commenting on a blog. Blogs are by nature opinion-based; however, opinions should also be based on accuracy. If you are consistently posting information that is not accurate, you will lose credibility and eventually subscribers. Another way to limit your credibility is to become labeled a “spammer.” By posting links to other blogs to promote yourself is simply wrong when it doesn’t contribute to the conversation. You wouldn’t set up camp in your neighbor’s front yard in hopes of promoting yourself by intercepting the traffic entering their house, so why would you camp out on their blog? Most people who spam on other blog posts have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation anyway. Finally, if you use information from other blogs directly on your blog, please give credit. It is wonderful to see that others recognize your post as credible information. When the original writer does not receive credit for the post, a theft of information has occurred. Be sure to post and comment accurately, avoid spamming and give credit to those who deserve it to avoid landing your blog post or comment in the Poor Blog Etiquette Hall of Shame.
by Scott Young