The last two years has brought a dramatic shift on the axis of the blogging community. With the wide adoption of social media consumption there are a lot fewer daily bloggers and a lot more micro-bloggers.
The net result is a world full of newbies posting things online.
With this huge shift comes a need to re-educate folks on etiquette.
- Observe the basic rules of the online world. Understand that there is no privacy. And anything you post can/will be used against you in the court of public opinion.
- Properly cite your sources. Provide a link to your source. If you are quoting a blogger, mention their name and link their name to the blog post your are quoting. (At the very least, link to their Facebook or Twitter account.) Make sure you spell their name correctly… I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been quoted on a site with my name spelled incorrectly. How rude.
- Understand the relationship between blogger and reader is reciprocal. The blogger gives you something to read and think about. If you take the time to read it, the reader should either respond with a comment, “like” the post so your friends can see you like it, retweet it, bookmark it, or share it on your favorite RSS reader.
- Give credit where credit is due. Were you inspired to write something from another blogger? Than give a hat tip in your post. (You see this as HT to name. It’s also fine to say, “Adam McLane recently wrote about ____.”) Bloggers know what they’ve written about recently. Trust me, it’s rude to see people using your ideas without giving you credit.
- Be careful when using proper nouns. That may sound silly, but you have to be conscious that your online rant may impact someone’s online reputation. (Or business or organization) I’m not saying it’s rude to call someone out… just be careful about it.
- Don’t steal images. Just because you found something on Google images or Flickr doesn’t mean it is free for you to use!
- Use your own images.
- Create your own.
- Use images published under a Creative Commons license, properly cited and linking back, from Flickr. (Share and share alike. If you use CC images, make sure to post some as well!) Just make sure to read the usage rights… typically using an image for commercial purposes is a no-no.
- Buy stock photography from iStockphoto or something similar.
Just like in a sport– there aren’t always dramatic consequences when you breach etiquette. But there are social ramifications! Trust me, people are watching what you do online. They are making judgements about your abilities and character. Just like you try to act polite and use proper etiquette in the physical world… you are responsible for your own actions online.
Have an etiquette question? Leave a comment and I will add to the list as needed.