Blogging Etiquette 101

Jennifer Brown Banks

It seems that everybody’s using blogs for personal profiling and professional advancement these days. For everything from 15 minutes of fame, to dating, and even to satisfy exhibitionist tendencies. L00k at me... Look at me! :-)

Some blogs are for educational purposes, while others are designed to entertain.

According to online statistics, there are millions of these online journals released into the blogosphere.

More than a decade ago, I was convinced that I should join the bandwagon. So, I too got on the scene. In fact, I have had several Blogs. And although they can be fun and addicting, and give you a sense of empowerment in exercising your First Amendment rights, proceed with caution.

For optimal results, a strategic approach is needed.

Anything posted online should still be done with a degree of prudence and poise. Why? Because prospective employers, editors and clients might just “let their fingers do the walking” and pull up your Blog. This could be a make or break situation. And I should know...

I say this as a former senior editor of a regional publication, who from time to time would visit the sites of potential and existing staff writers. Many were not aware that I learned quite a bit from what they said and what they didn't say amid their daily posts! I, for one, am a firm believer that it’s not just what you do, but how you do it that matters.

Sure, we’ve all been pissed off by false friends, clients that drive us crazy, “Stupid-visors”, bad boyfriends, family drama, and garden variety knuckle-heads. But, there’s an appropriate time and place for everything. Trust me on this one.

In fact, today's article topic came about as a result of a blog I read of an acquaintance of mine a while back...

Here’s the lowdown…

I happened to click on this woman's site, where she posted a virtual “laundry list” of things that clients and business associates do to tick her off and get on her last nerves. Not cool. And I’m pretty sure that I was one of them. Ouch. :-)

Now here’s where she made her mistake. Her online “impression” is far from how she comes off in person. In person, she appears as polished, pleasant, and educated. But her blog made her seem…well, ghetto, for lack of a better word.

The result? Some potential clients may never get to know how competent and cool she can actually be. That's too bad.

Don't let this be you!

Remember the following BEWARES OF BLOGGING:

1) Never Blog using folks' real names.

It's a small world, and you don't want to appear “small” by making silly grudges public knowledge. You're bigger than that.:-) Also keep in mind that you could even potentially face legal actions, depending upon what you post.

2) Take a chill pill.

Consider that the person with whom you're angry is simply someone who thinks differently than you do, and whose offense might not have been intentional. Why not give benefit of the doubt?

3) Take the high road.

There's less traffic. Remember, although we can't control others' actions, we can choose our response.

4) If you must vent...

Phone a friend, pen your thoughts to your personal journal, or confront the offender person to person.

5) Consider having a personal Blog and a professional one.

Your personal one can have restrictions or limited access. This can potentially control the info that is exposed for business purposes that may futuristically cause you harm.

6) Know that there's a difference between “disclosure” and airing your soiled laundry.

Have tact. Let your online identity reflect your strengths, not your stressors.

7) Be proactive rather than reactive.

If you have personal pet peeves, share them with others in the way of a humorous article, or slogan, or as part of an agreement or contract, depending upon the circumstances and the nature of the relationship. Open communication goes a long way toward establishing peace and personal boundaries.

Final Thought

If you really seek to be "a cut above the rest", pick up the phone, be an adult, and state your case to the parties involved. You might find it quite liberating. And they might respect you more. Just a thought...

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Veteran freelance writer, award-winning blogger, thought leader, herbal tea enthusiast. My mission is to entertain, engage and inform readers with articles that are interesting, enriching and diverse.

Chicago, IL

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