I hope you are enjoying this series as much as I am. So far I've learnt something new each day - so big thanks to all our guest bloggers for making it a great week of learning!!
Thanks again to those of you who have blogged about this week to let more people know :) !!
Can I encourage you all to continue to keep up the great discussions in the comments sections... It is really interesting to know your feedback and there are some great suggestions coming out in that section - So thanks to the contributors there!!
I will definitely endeavor to try answering questions on Sunday when I wrap up, so please feel free to leave questions you have regarding either blogging or more specific questions about blogger.
Today we will hear from another talented quilty Flickr friend Jill. I know a few of my readers in particular (I'm sure you can guess who you are) will be interested to check out her flickr pool - because Jill has done some very droolworthy teacup quilt blocks recently.
Anyway enjoy everybody & thanks again Jill for sharing your wisdom with us!!
Hi there! My name is Jill, and I blog over at life and time of Jill and am a ridiculously active Flickr member under the username davenjilly.
I am a quilter and sometimes other-thing-sewer, and I also write a parenting blog with my friend Kris over at clevermamas.blogspot.com. I feel really honoured to be able to share some of my thoughts on this important topic of blog etiquette.
When I started my blog I was a stay at home mom to one baby, living in Saskatchewan. That was six years ago, and a lot has changed both for me and blogging in that space of time. I am now a mom to three kids, living in Montreal and trying to find work while my husband goes back to school.
Shortly after I discovered blogging, I learned to quilt. It wasn’t until a year or so afterwards that I discovered the online craft community. Let me tell you, friends, I was thrilled. Here - finally- were other crafters with similar tastes, styles, and interests as me. Instead of going into a quilt store and being laughed at because I was looking for brown or orange, I found other people who appreciated my sensibilities.
I blog strictly for fun. You can tell this, because I only have 10 followers after years worth of blogging. I do a lot of talking about sewing, quilting and swaps on my blog, but a lot of the consistent readers of my blog are friends and relatives that live in other parts of the country. It is a fun way to do the chatting I would do in real life if I could go out for coffee with them, with the added benefit that I don’t have to pretend to listen to their side of the conversation! Only joking – I love listening to my friends and having two way conversations, but I do have a lot going on in my head. I consider my blog to be a way to get my thoughts out there without driving my husband and friends crazy with my endless babble. If they get bored, they can always skip ahead.
I am not the person to ask about how to grow your blog, obviously, but I do have some tips to share – some learned from hard experience – on how to keep a safe, fun, courteous blog
A. Remember that Blogs are Public Space
Although it seems like writing a journal, especially when you first start out, blogs are not private unless you have set them as such. This means that anything that you post on your blog is out there in the world for all to see. There are two sides to this:
1. Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want your mother to read - people can google you and find your blog, unless you are obsessively careful about your identity. So think if this is something you would want your family, friends, or a potential employer to read before you push “publish”.
2. Don’t post anything you would want a stalker to read - creepy, I know, but true. Your photos and words can be lifted off your blog This includes photos of your children. So think before you post those cute naked bath photos. You never know who might be searching for things online, or what they might use your content for.
B. Give Credit Where Credit is Due
The World Wide Web 2.0 (the interactive part that includes blogs, twitter, Flickr, facebook and all those other fun things) is built on links. Many bloggers are building careers based on the number of links and subscribers they garner. Quilt bloggers get sponsorships from fabric stores and parenting bloggers get advertising dollars to promote like-minded businesses who market to children and parents. The links you embed in your blog help out those people.
This means that if you are using content from their blogs without their permission, you are stealing their intellectual property, and possibly their livelihood. Simple as that. So if you want to join a discussion about an article, topic or blog post that you have seen, link back to it in your post. This gives your readers the opportunity to go check out the rest of the discussion. It also gives the original authors proper credit for their ideas.
In the same way, if you make something based on a tutorial that is posted online, link to the tutorial when you show off your great item. It is a polite way of thanking the blogger for taking the time and energy to make the tute in the first place. If you find a great online fabric store where you love to buy fabric, let your friends in on the deal and help out the store at the same time. And don’t copy others’ tutorials. Its just bad form. If you know that someone else has already written a really good tutorial for something, there is no need to make a new one – just link to theirs.
Linking sounds scary, but it is easy. You simply go to the blog post or tutorial you want to link to and copy the web address in your browser window. Then go back to your blog, and either use the “link” function embedded in the blog or use the following html code: words you want to appear on your blog. go here . Easy, right? I used to keep that, and a few other useful html codes on a piece of masking tape stuck to the blank space below the keyboard on my laptop for easy reference.
Try to link to the specific blog post, rather than to the blog in general (unless you are referring to the blogger, in which case a link to their general site is just a nice nod in their direction). There is nothing more frustrating than hitting a link and having to scroll down three or four posts to find the information you were sent to find.
C. Be Nice
The craft blogging world is a happy place. People are generally generous, kind and friendly. They will send you a pattern they are done with, some scraps they don’t need, or a lovely hand made item just because. They will give you helpful advice about how to proceed with your sewing or knitting project. They will heap praise on you when you make something lovely. But the expectation is that everyone should play fair and be nice.
The old rule your first grade teacher taught you really does apply here: if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. Silence is always better than a nasty comment. If you like something, tell someone. If they are discouraged, offer a cheerful word.
In the same way, when people comment on your blog, it is considered courteous to either respond via email or on their blog If you are using type pad you can just respond directly to their comment. Otherwise, a kind email or comment can go a long way towards making friends and connections. I don’t always get a chance to email, but will often respond on the other blogger’s blog or flickr account.
One final consideration in this category is to remember that you are dealing with people in different cultures. I am from a rough town in Northern Ontario that was built on the fur trade, shipping, mills, mines and forestry. People tend to have a bit of a cutting edge to their humor. I quickly learned that when I was dealing with people from different cultures and without the real life cues of intonation and body language, I needed to adjust my tone. What I considered funny, others sometimes thought of as rude or mean spirited. So keep your irony and sarcasm to yourself, or limit it to people who know you well enough to understand that you are joking.
D. Keep your Promises
If you do a giveaway, and you say you will send something to someone, send it. If you are involved in a swap, make the item you have been asked to make and send it on time. If you are involved in a quilting bee, keep up your end of the commitment. No one likes to send out their hand made item or precious, carefully chosen fabric, and receive nothing in return.
If you do have an emergency or a change in life that means you must break your commitment, be responsible about it. Let the person know you will not be finishing their item, or if it will be late, tell them how late it will be. If you can not continue in a quilting bee, let the co-ordinator know and send back any fabric you have not sewn into blocks. If you must back out of a swap, let the swap mama know so they can find a replacement. Leave people hanging a few times and you will not be allowed to participate in swaps or trades any longer.
E. Say Thank You
One of the best things you can do in the blogging world is to keep the love going. We all want this to be a happy, encouraging, fun place to be. So be thankful. If someone sends you something nice in the mail, post about it. If you participate in a swap, write a post about the item you receive. Maybe show how you are using it in your home, or talk about how you felt when you received the item. The maker, who probably put a lot of thought and time into making their swap for you, will appreciate your virtual thank you note.
In the same vein, if you enjoy someone’s blog post, tell them. Everyone loves comments and feedback. Give it freely and you might just make some new friends and meet fellow bloggers.
F. Have fun and don’t get discouraged.
Starting a blog can get discouraging when you never get any comments or visitors. If you are planning to blog for fun, write what you enjoy to write about, when you want to write about it. Have fun writing and others will have fun reading your blog Enjoy the process and don’t worry too much about the outcome. Obsessively checking followers, comments, and stats can suck the fun out of blogging. Don’t worry, you’ll soon have your own little blogging community, and probably more followers than me!
Have fun as you start your new life as a blogger! I really love being able to put my thoughts and creations out there, and I hope you will find the same satisfaction in blogging that I do.
Thanks so much to Kat for inviting me to be a guest blogger here at mummastimetocreate! What a great idea to run a series on blogging etiquette, and what a fun blog! I really enjoyed writing this post, and I hope it is helpful and informative for all you new bloggers out there. Enjoy your week!