- Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Blogger Etiquette 101 (which is actually 5 in binary code so top 5)


This is a tough unwritten subject because it's not like anyone wrote the rules, so I'm going to. This is based on some confusion I've noticed in the blogosphere, as well as some things I've encountered and felt like, "That's kind of rude, whatever." And the whatever is because I have a way I do things. If that's not the way it's done, I don't really care. I'm still going to do my thing. See some people are like, "Hey we don't do that because the favor is not returned," and I'm like, "I didn't do it so the favor would be returned."


So here we go. Like the Steelers. Blogger Etiquettes.



1. COPYING IS BAD; SHARING IS GOOD


2. CITE YOUR SOURCE



Copying is when you take something you didn't write and present it like you did. For instance, I once tweeted about Miley Cyrus's VMA performance, "She needs Mary J Blige in her life," and later I noticed someone on my twitter used that almost word for word in their blog about the same subject. That is copying. I am not flipping out completely about it because I feel a little honored some famous blogger paid attention to a tweet by me, but that is copying. She took my idea, in my context, and used it as her own.

How I would have handled it?  "Blah blah blah Miley blah blah blah. Dribbles and Grits tweeted she needed Mary J. Blige in her life. Miley listen to her. I agree wholeheartedly because blah blah blah..."

Another example of copying... This has happened to me several times... I made a meme and shared it with someone, and that someone else then made their own very similar to it to use on their blog and page. In contrast, SHARING (what I would do) would be to take my meme, share it where you would have used your own version of the same exact thing, and throw in a "Thank you (LINK TO SOURCE) for this gem."

I think what happens is they think along the lines of the rules of plagiarism in class. As long as they "paraphrase," it's not plagiarism, but in school (I believe both MLA and APA), you are supposed to reveal the source you paraphrased. Without revealing the source, it's plagiarism.

There are a million gray areas with this.

Nasir Jones (AKA Nas) once said, probably quoting someone else more famous who I have no idea said this, "There's nothing new under the sun, it's not what you do but how it's done." Every idea you could possibly come up with is not your own. Someone else somewhere else probably already thought of it. I think it's because you know those lines they drew on TV map of the world for Ancient Aliens? I think there's like a spiritual traffic thing going on those lines where we all as humans connect and somehow in a dream state like spiritual way, share knowledge and ideas. That's just my crazy theory. BTW, I came up with pet insurance before anyone ever did it.

Anyway it happened to me. I stole an idea. I didn't even know it. I wrote a blog post, "Top gifts NOT to buy my children." And it was a slide show of things from the top of my head I don't want you to buy my children based on things people have given my children for birthdays and Christmas, including when the kids came home from school with unwashable markers and a plastic baggie of confetti, corn kernels, coffee grounds, and small beads (like I'm not sure what that was besides teacher's discount on crack). True story. My kids come home from school with the weirdest stuff. Anyway, another blogger wrote the same post, not word for word, but close enough. A year before I did. A post I never read until after I wrote it. Of course she probably thinks I copied her and hates me for it, but I still did the right thing. I updated my post, explained about the other post, and linked to it. Hers was still different. Unique from my post. But it was close enough I had to link to her. She was NOT my source for inspiration, but it still felt like the right thing to do.

I've also done the thing where I read a blog post about a current event I had no idea was going on, some little story somewhere in the world, and I start to comment my opinion, and at paragraph 3, I usually realize my comment is a bit wordy. So instead of writing a novel in someone's comments, I write a blog post linking to the source of my inspiration. I start the blog, "I was reading this blog post about blah blah blah" where I link to it, and follow it with my opinion. Then I change my comment to, "My comment was long, so I wrote it in a blog post here." I also do this when my comment includes adult language, disagrees too much, is on a super old blog post prior to 2010... I still comment because people like getting comments on their blog because it's a sign of a successful blog.

Another gray area is the internet is full of plagiarized fair use and possible lawsuits. Most memes, like the dinosaur, the kid with the tough arm, the mustache guy, the Ancient Alien guy, Family guy... those are pretty much parody fair use. If you can cite an original source for it, you should. But if you don't know and want to use it, that's on you. If there is a watermark on the meme, one where you can tell it's the original source like a photographer, keep it on there.

The point is, unless you came up with it from a blank page without any inspiration, you should cite and share other sources that help you come to your content. It's helpful for their SEO for you to link to their post, embedded in normal words like Funny Blog Post. You might also bring them some traffic.

Of course, you don't have to cite all your sources of information. Nobody really does. But you can return a favor with a favor and avoid plagiarism if you do.

3. RETURN COMMENTS


When a blogger leaves a comment on your blog that isn't spammy, something thoughtful, it is etiquette to check out their blog and if you like it at all, comment. Maybe follow it if you really like it. Some people comment on random blogs, but most people who provide thoughtful comments related to your post do so because they have something in common with you. They related to your words. You may also relate to theirs.

Of course, big blogs that receive hundreds of comments cannot possibly do this. This is more for smaller blogs. I mean cmon now, if your only comment you have on your blog is from another blog, really would it pull your muscles in your brain to check it out?

4. BE APPRECIATIVE OF FREE ADVERTISING


Advertising is not usually free. Places like Facebook and Google charge to put you out where people can see you. They look cheap from the get go, like, "hey I can invest 10 dollars," but for each time you are visible or for each click you get, it gets expensive, beyond the budget of most bloggers. So when a blogger links you anywhere, that is free advertising.

Many of us bloggers share our favorite blogs on a sidebar, or within a post, or on our Facebook pages. We know that's how you get out there. That's how you grow. We know this because we all grew from the kindness of others providing us free advertising.

On Facebook, every time you like, comment or share a post from a Facebook page, you are providing free advertising for that page. Every blogger with a Facebook page knows the importance of this; however, how many of you bloggers pay attention to other bloggers who share you? It's sometimes impossible to keep track of blogger and real names, but most of the time when a page shares your picture or post (as opposed to posting it as their own), they are doing you a favor. You don't have to immediately return the favor, but keep them in mind as a friendly in the future. If you notice someone sharing frequently, liking frequently, the least you can do is like their page. In fact, this is how I met More Than Cheese and Beer and became involved in the Sunday Confessions I enjoy doing so much on my Dribbles and Grits blog.

In Linkz provides an app like thingy for you to provide a place people can link their blog. This is a beautiful feature in my mind because I'm the type who wants to know what bloggers are reading my blog. I want to know what bloggers are reading my blog so I can go read theirs. That's what they want, right? Some comment platforms like CommentLuv provide a place for people to post their latest blog post under their comment, which is awesome, but it's Wordpress only and now costly. Intense Debate allows for more user friendly commenting on Blogger, but I'm not getting links to people's blog with it. So I like In Linkz (which is not a comment thing) because bloggers can easily add their link for me to see.

Unfortunately, every time I post it, nobody links up. I think they think it's for a blog hop only, but it's not. It's for the reason the person states in the description. It's free advertising, one that guarantees at least one reader (me). I've even offered to share other people's inlinkz, and they weren't interested because I don't think they understood it was free advertising. In fact, they seemed insulted that I offered, like I was trying to steal their idea, but no, that would be free advertising. I'm giving away space on my blog to them.

5. DON'T BE A DICK


I stole this one from Spongebob, Insane in the MomBrain and Moms who Drink and Swear. It's definitely not my idea. And it's not really actually about penises so take your Freudian gutter mind and think about penises for one second, now put that thought away. Don't be a jerk. (Aw, now it's Spongebob's). It sounds easy to follow, but I think a lot of times, we get caught up in the drama and think we need to be a dick to make it in this world. I know there are bloggers out there who have some how manipulated themselves into thinking I'm some sort of enemy when I am just being nice. It's like why start drama when it's not there?

People, this is the internet. Butthurt is inevitable. But it's not a reason to be a jerk. We got a lot of diverse personalities and cultures mixing into one pot, and all of us are spewing our opinions on subjects you don't talk about professionally like religion, politics and sex, and we are doing it without body language, eye contact and voice tones.

I'm a Christian who is friends with Atheists. How is that possible you might ask? We embrace the diversity. Yes there are times we argue about dinosaurs, evolution and God's existence, but we approach it like friends instead of enemies. We argue like adults instead of children. I also overuse the F-word on my Facebook, and I'm friends with ministers.

The point is if you approach unknown people as friends before enemies, you will accomplish a lot more than assuming the worst about someone. I have some passionate friends (cough cough friends, yeah a friend, no I'm not talking about myself at all) who suffer from foot-in-mouth syndrome where they are quick to assume an innocent comment was meant to be malicious to later discover that the intentions were much better than the response they gave. For all you know, user 55263epicname24 is Chuck Norris or one of Obama's kids. It could be an alien from another planet trying to decide whether to attack earth or help it. It could be your mother for all you know. The anonymity of the internets shouldn't make you assume it's a robot. It should make you realize that could be anyone. It could be a person on the verge of suicide. It could be a person on the verge of making millions. Regardless, it could be anyone, a human being, complete with feelings and passion and goals and dreams. You don't have to agree with them. You don't have to share the same feelings or passions or goals. But approach them with love and compassion because... The other person you are talking to is always going to be another version of you. 

Quote that. Write that down. It was golden advice there in big letters.


BONUS: YOU DON'T HAVE TO WEAR PANTS


It's trending now. Bloggers who blog without wearing pants. Wine is also trending. Most bloggers apparently don't blog sober. This is etiquette people. Proper etiquette dictates that you take off your pants and pour yourself your favorite beverage. If you are a recovering alcoholic, coffee is another trending beverage amongst the bloggers.

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