Bletiquette: Courteous Blogging 101

by Leah on October 21, 2010 · 24 comments

Not to go all Emily Post on you, but sometimes we just need a little reminder on the rules of good etiquette when blogging.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Yes, it’s YOUR blog. Yes, you can do exactly what you want with it. But if you want to be a courteous blogger (as courteous as I’m sure you are in real life!) there are certain things you can do make sure your blogging is kind and fair. You need to learn blogging etiquette (or what I like to call “bletiquette”).

I think of bletiquette the same way I think of real-life etiquette: Blogging without courtesy won’t land you in jail or get you some sort of hefty fine, but it’s just not nice. Is cutting someone in line illegal? Of course not. But it’s rude, and you probably wouldn’t do it.

That leads me to Bletiquette Rule #1: Don’t do things in the blog world you wouldn’t do in the real world. This applies to mean comments or snarky remarks. If you’d say it to the blogger’s face, then feel free to say it in the comments. If you wouldn’t say it out loud in front of a group of people you don’t really know, don’t say it on your blog. It’s not worth it! And in the same way that if you didn’t like someone in the real world, you’d avoid them, if you don’t like a blog/blogger, don’t read it! Rachel wrote a really good post covering why you shouldn’t hate follow and Meredith echoed that sentiment this week on Hollaback.

Bletiquette Rule #2: Give credit where credit is due. C’mon, you guys, don’t be sea witches. Does it really hurt to throw in a link to where you got that recipe? Or contest concept? Or clever phrase for a certain type of burrito? Oh, so it IS a pain in the ass to link back? Well, guess what? PEOPLE WILL REALIZE YOU’RE COPYING! Really, your readers aren’t dumb. If you copy someone’s lingo, concepts, or voice, we’ll all figure it out. Links are your friends. And, hey, if you link to someone, they might be more likely to link to YOU in the future! Everybody wins. I wrote a whole post on copy-blogging vs. inspired blogging, so if you need more info, check it out.

Bletiquette Rule #3: When in doubt, ask! Can you use that fellow blogger’s photo of the same dish you made last night? ASK. Should you use the same unique format as that other blogger for a giveaway? JUST ASK. I’m guessing most of us don’t have a problem with any of that stuff, provided we’re asked and given credit (see Rule #2).

Bletiquette Rule #4: Keep asking! I thought this deserved its own rule because it’s pretty important. You need to ask before posting pictures of people on your blog! It’s just rude not to, and it’s actually unsafe to post pictures of minors without getting permission from a parent/guardian first. When I’m snapping pics of friends and family, I always make sure it’s cool if I put them on the blog before I actually do. And sometimes, they say no! (Exhibit A: my photo-shy boyfriend who made me blur his face out of pictures until he realized that looked even creepier). You have to be okay with people NOT being okay with being on your blog. Not everybody wants to be plastered all over the internet, and that’s OK.

Bletiquette Rule #5: DON’T BRAG. I know, I know, it’s your blog, you can do what you want, etc., etc. But if you don’t want to leave a bad taste in readers’ mouths, you’ll at least be cognizant of posting things on your blog that seem like excessive bragging. It’s going to differ from person to person, but one example might be posting your super-human pace after every run. It’s fab that you’re so quick, but being reminded of it might get a little tiresome for those of us who aren’t as speedy. You’ll have to use your discretion: What seems like bragging from some just seems like celebratory sharing from others. It’s all about your tone.

Bletiquette Rule #6: Don’t be your own worst critic. When you criticize how much you ate, how much weight you gained over the weekend, or how slow your last run was, be aware of the people who may have eaten more than you, gained more weight, or ran slower. And don’t even start with the “I blog for me” business. No, you don’t, or you wouldn’t be reading this right now. Sometimes, that stuff comes off as fishing for compliments, while other times, it just makes your readers feel bad about themselves. Either way, it’s unattractive, and honestly, not fun to read about. There are definitely ways to talk about your less-than-stellar moments in more productive, less critical ways.

What other bletiquette rules would you like to see become commonplace around the blogosphere? Let us know!

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