This week, we have been discussing Blogging Law and Etiquette. Monday, we reviewed "Fair Use" laws, and yesterday, we talked about what is permissible to copy, with and without attribution. Now, let's discuss what actions and behaviors the other bloggers are expecting of us, and what we need to do to be good blogging neighbors.
Blogging without a Blog's Barbara Swafford, who refers to blogging etiquette as the "unwritten rules" of blogging, suggests writing original articles, and not posting until you actually have something to write:
"Putting a new spin on a subject is one thing, but downright copying someone else’s ideas is not right."
Barbara has 13 other "unwritten rules," for bloggers, many of which are suggestions for appropriately using the comment sections of your blog and other blogs. Be sure to check it out, here, and also take a look at the comment section on that post for great commentary.
Suite101's Zona Marie Tan has 16 general dos and don'ts of the blogosphere, for bloggers, commenters and both. She emphasizes the importance of expressing an opinion respectfully, and properly attributing sources. She also mentions hotlinking:
"Don’t steal bandwidth. If you are going to use an image off a blog, save it on to your own image hosting site. It’s rude to copy the image source and link it directly to your own blog."
BloggingTips' Deborah Ng writes, "The rules are quite simple," recounting an unpleasant blogging experience she had and how it could have been prevented. Among her suggestions, she provides these words of wisdom:
"Don’t forget, everything you write is on display for the world to see. If you don’t want to the world knowing something, don’t post it. Many employers now Google potential employees. If you’re showing off your lingerie or ranting about your previous boss, these won’t bode well in your favor."
CyberJournalist offers A Bloggers' Code of Ethics, advocating for honesty, fairness, respect, and accountability in blogging. Part of being accountable, this poster writes, is the committment to:
"Admit mistakes and correct them promptly."
Other than correcting obvious typos and formatting errors, it is always better to amend blog posts with an "updated" or "corrected," (or similar notation). Trying to correct mistakes or regrets by covering them up can easily be discovered in the search engine cache, and will harm the integrity and reputation of the blogger.
Jennifer Pointer (e-mail) is a trainer and tech writer in Tulsa, OK. She promotes a simple, a low-tech approach to effective online profile management, search engine optimization and social networking. Her weakness is the mocha frappuccino.