Rules??? We don't need no 'stinkin' rules!
The more I write and publish to my blog here on ActiveRain and on SOUNDBITEBLOG, the more I realize there are no hard & fast rules for blogging, but simply opinions, preferences, and common sense social netiquette.
So let's start with Proper Netiquette, or, "Playing Fair in the Blogging Sandbox."
According to Wikipedia, "Netiquette is a catch-all term for the conventions of politeness and respect recognized on Usenet, in mailing lists, in live chat systems, and on other electronic forums such as Internet message boards. These conventions address the relationship between personal behavior and group phenomena, and outline a dynamic set of guidelines for conduct that is conducive to pleasant, efficient and agreeable interaction."
In her book, "The Core Rules of Netiquette," Virginia Shea suggests the following basic tenets:
- Rule 1: Remember the Human: Basically, follow the Golden Rule and treat others as you would have them treat you.
- Rule 2: Adhere to the same standards of behavior online that you follow in real life: A reminder to be ethical and to avoid any illegal behavior, such as copyright infringement or plagiarism (clip & paste).
- Rule 3: Know where you are in cyberspace: There may be differences of behavior from one platform or forum to the next. Take time to observe how other members interact before taking the plunge.
- Rule 4: Respect other people's time and bandwidth: I take this to mean writing good quality content, both in your posts and in your comments. Don't waste other people's time with meaningless banter. Don't clutter the platform with redundant self-promotion. Have respect for the founders/creators of the network, and abide by their guidelines.
- Rule 5: Make yourself look good online: Yes, Virginia, good spelling and proper grammar ARE important. When you take a position of authority on a given point, be prepared to know what you're talking about and support your views. Don't post 'Flame Bait (a tactic used by those who want to draw attention to themselves by creating undue controversy or confrontation).
- Rule 6: Share expert knowledge: Share freely from your pool of knowledge and experience. The ones who 'get' the most, are the very ones who 'give' the most.
- Rule 7: Help keep flame wars under control: Notice she doesn't suggest that we refrain from flaming. The act of flaming has long been a tradition on social forums. They can actually be rather entertaining at times. And let's face it, some people deserve to be 'flamed!' But when they burn out of control, becoming intensely personal and damaging, it's wrong.
- Rule 8: Respect other people's privacy: I think this probably relates more to e-mail privacy, but it could apply to gossip as well. And let's not forget unsolicited SPAM! (Has anyone ever 'solicited' SPAM?)
- Rule 9: Don't abuse your power: Just because you may know more than the next person or may have been doing something a little while longer than the rest doesn't make you any better, or necessarily establish you as the resident expert.
- Rule 10: Be forgiving of other people's mistakes: Everyone has been a network Newbie at one time or another. Many of us have had the good fortune of meeting some polite, kind, and patient mentors along the way. We should follow their example by helping other new members.
On the HomePage of ActiveRain, the Founders have provided us with a wealth of Community Resources. Many of the articles contained on this resource page will give you a better understanding of what behavior is encouraged and discouraged here in the Rain.
Next time, we'll explore together whether or not any blogging 'rules' truly exist.
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Rich Jacobson is a licensed real estate professional providing knowledgeable empowerment and relentless representation for his clients of residential properties and vacant land throughout all of Kitsap County WA and portions of Pierce, Mason, and Jefferson Counties. You can also find him at KitsapLife.com, SOUNDBITEBLOG and Crabbing in the Hood, or e-mail: email@example.com