It’s a beautiful day to post on my blog, the first for more than a year. Please don’t worry about why I’ve been absent. Well, you aren’t really worried, but I see your whiskers are twitching and your claws are flexing. Head back to the sofa, curious kitty, repose in comfort. It wasn’t for illness or divorce or anything criminal, just something that occupied my attention for a year. I continued to write my books, read other blogs, comment where I felt I had something worthy to contribute, but I ignored my own blog. There just wasn’t time this past year with the big Occupation. Things have finally calmed. Now I can concentrate on the rest of my life, and am glad to be back at Ink Flare.
I’ve learned much from a scant year of blogging and four years of reading blogs, and want to share my trove of blog knowledge. A lot of blog behavior shows itself around the web, much of it brilliant, thoughtful, poignant, controversial, witty, creative, timely, humorous, or questioning, but not all of it pretty. Especially where blog replies are logged, I’ve noticed a lack of courteous commentary, as though once a post has gone live, some folks seem to think they can respond any way at all. I haven’t always been appropriate in the comment/reply section either, learning by embarrassing publication how shrill or foolish I can be. If you are learning to blog, as host of your own blog or as a reader of others, I hope this guide will help corral you within the proper borders. You’ll be a respected host and/or a welcome guest, and over time will develop friendly relationships within the blogging world.
Here are my 7 best rules for blog hosts:
- Write your very best work. Think out your topic, organize it with some kind of logic, review your work for accuracy, grammar, spelling, and make it reasonably complete before you let it go live. I write everything first on a Word Doc and check it several times before posting on my blog site. Then I check again within the blog work area before I go live – it looks different sometimes, so I catch all kinds of additional booboos and hisses. I like to arrange to post for sometime the next day or next week, giving me time to think about the article and make further adjustments or improvements.
- Respond to every single commentator. A reader kind enough to say something about my post deserves a reply from me. I’m so grateful for the attention of strangers, and it’s a small thank you to acknowledge them.
- Address each person who comments by name. I can’t always identify a bona fide first name by a blogger’s handle, but I can find some way of saying hello in a personal way. “Thank you, Sam295,” or “Glad you liked it, Moonbeam,” are great ways to start the conversation. When I read a reply to my comment addressed to me as a real live person, I get the warm fuzzies. It feels so good to be seen as an individual in the crowd, and I want to spread that good cheer as well.
- Like the movie says, Let It Go. Sometimes it’s better to say a simple, “Thank you for reading,” to someone who misinterprets your words or takes angry issue with you. Most of us can also choose to edit our own blogs and remove offensive comments, though I think this should be exercised with caution. Yesterday I saw a sweet but obviously confused homeless man picking up sticks outside the bank, talking up a blue streak to someone who wasn’t in the world with me – but was with him. I smiled at Pick Up Stick man; he smiled back; neither of us was injured by the interaction. We both moved on. The blogging world gets these odd souls also. Smile. Move on.
- Be prepared to apologize if appropriate. Occasionally a reader will spot an error I’ve made, and sometimes those errors are true blunders. It might just be a misjudgment of my tone or intent, but if I’ve come off as arrogant or dismissive though I meant to be witty, more than the person who caught me out probably felt I was being a jerk. Politely acknowledge the mistake.
- Say thank you. There’s always something to be thankful for in a reader’s comment. This is a gracious and simple way to let Sally know you appreciate that she follows your blog – there are millions of others out there, and she’s chosen to follow yours. “Thank you” is the smallest interest to pay on her investment.
- Follow your reader’s blog. This is the very most appreciative way to acknowledge him. I’ve found so many wonderful bloggers out there, people who live on the other side of the world, whose native language is not one I speak, whose lives are different from mine but whose interests may be parallel – or not. I’ve discovered the motive for alternate points of view, unique lifestyles, cultural differences, and find them refreshing and informative. My view of the world has expanded exponentially. I’m a guest on this blue planet and have a lot to learn. So, follow, follow, follow…(music here)
Here are my 7 best rules for blog followers:
- Follow a blog, as many as you enjoy, with devotion, maybe not every single post, but sufficiently that you develop a sense of the host’s purpose, and he can count on you to participate. By follow, I mean read. This is reciprocal activity in the blog world. It’s essential to healthy blogging.
- Do comment, especially if you’ve read the post for the day. At least click the “like” button. Nothing makes a blogger fear the vast Internet ether more than heart pounding silence at the other end.
- Don’t bogart someone else’s blog. Curly Cat’s Cuddly Cute Blog is not the place for your rant, even about the topic presented on her site. If I have a whole lot to say, I sometimes write a post on my own blog about the same topic but with my personal experience and slant. (Do be vigilant not to plagiarize!) A thousand words posted on someone else’s blog – that’s like stealing the bride’s bouquet before she’s tossed it. And I will admit, this is the rule I’ve broken more often than I should have. I’m following this one carefully now.
- Be thoughtful and positive. If you have a gripe, don’t air it on someone else’s blog. Avoid nasty words, negative comments, swearing, and curse words. Grandma might be reading. The kids might be reading. Keep the sexual, (though good humored flirting may be OK,) political, religious stuff out of your comments, except for the sincere “God bless” should you be so inclined. Someone else’s blog isn’t the place for your ugly rant or bombastic sermon, even about the topic presented on the site. Don’t ramble, Rosie, don’t rage, keep your comments to the subject of the post – and make ‘em short.
- Write one comment and maybe one follow up comment. Everything else belongs to the host blogger. Those long lists of comments that trail down a blog’s comment section like rampant poison ivy – remember how much that vine can itch. Avoid.
- Don’t correct grammar, punctuation, or spelling. I’m a teacher but I’m not a teacher on someone else’s blog. Much of the post or comments were likely written on a cell phone with its little teeny tiny screen and itsy bitsy witsy “keys.” Criticism – that’s what the annoying neighbor is for.
- Let the blog host have the last comment on their blog. I don’t deserve the last laugh or the final say on Buddy’s Big Blue Bouncing Bubbly Blog – Buddy does.
It’s great to be back, dear Followers. Thank you for welcoming me into your world. I long to hear from you.