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Running feet. These aren't mine.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

E is for Etiquette

Or more specifically the etiquette of blogging, commenting and following. (And no, I refuse to use the term netiquette because we happen to be talking about something on the internet. (Although could I be first to coin, and then reject because it just sounds so horrible, the term bletiquette?))

Up until last month I was exclusively a blog reader, and a big fan of RSS feeds; my browser (Chrome) both detects feeds and notifies me of new items, and it takes one click to subscribe and one click to check my reader in the morning. Simple, effective, no need to think.

But now I've started blogging, and I sense the rules have changed. Suddenly other bloggers have been saying nice things in the comments below (thanks guys, they're all appreciated!) and I think I now have four followers - again, thanks for this it's truly flattering and encouraging.

However. Now I've got over the initial shock that anyone might be interested and kind enough to leave a comment/follow my blog I've filled with self-doubt. It's surely the polite thing to do to acknowledge comments below the line, but I've also started trying to visit commenters blogs - but is it rude if I don't visit everyone's? Or I visit and don't leave a comment back?

And as for followers, to be honest, other than the little square photo that appears on the blog, I'm not entirely sure what it means to follow someone's blog, let alone whether I'm being terribly rude by not immediately entering into a reciprocal following arrangement with people who follow mine. I really don't want to inadvertently offend anyone, but equally I'm quite content following blogs I like through my RSS reader and commenting irregularly.

The good news is that most people in the world I've met are essentially good, and I'm pretty sure no one is losing sleep over whether I've returned their comments (if you are let me know, and I'll fix it!). But it does raise a question for me as to what my purpose is in blogging? My career is in editorial on magazines, so it's not like I'm not used to writing for an audience. And while I'd love it if thousands of people started reading my ramblings and telling me they loved what I was doing (who wouldn't?) there's also a certain purity in writing exclusively as an outlet for yourself - I guess why diaries have been with us since people invented written language.

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This is another runless blog (as will tomorrow's be)


  1. Oh I do hope that neither of those awful words netiquette or bletiquette *ugh to both* make it into common usage. As for blog etiquette, lots of people have their opinions. Here's what I do-- if someone follows my blog I don't automatically follow back because *not bragging because it's true* I get too many followers to keep track of. But if someone comments on one of my posts, I will go find their blog and if I like it I'll follow and become a regular visitor. I'm following you because I found you through the A to Z Challenge and like your blog and your posts. That's all. If you follow me back that's cool but if you don't ever visit my blog I'm not offended either. And I rarely get to every blog I follow that regularly either.

  2. Sadly, with 7.5 million hits on google and a dictionary and wikipedia definition, netiquette has already made it. I agree its awful.

    The good news is bletiquette was purely a flight of fancy of mine last night - so I think we're covered on that one (though come back to me in 20 years and I may have an IP claim on my hands!)

    Thanks for the encouragement Karen, it's appreciated - and I'm actually following your blog via my trusty RSS - as I say I'm still learning the ropes of being a blog author!

  3. Just popping in from A-Z and your post caught my eye.
    I tend to follow blogs that have content I find interesting or look like they may have similar views. Some I enjoy so much I pop in on a regular basis, others just occasionally. I don't expect that because I find a blog interesting enough to follow, the author will feel the same about my ramblings. So a reciprocal arrangement should not be done out of duty?