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Blog and RSS Feed Etiquette
Blog and RSS Feed Etiquette
By Sharon Housley
Citizen journalists and writers have become common place
on the web. Perhaps you are considering blogging, but
are unsure of how to enter the world of online journaling.
As the medium has grown, I thought it might be a good
idea to put together some general guidelines for new
bloggers and reminders to veteran bloggers about blogging
There is no Emily Post in blogging that
offers etiquette advice, or a Miss Manners that details
appropriate behavior. That does not mean there are not
acceptable and unacceptable actions that bloggers should
take. In order to efficiently communicate as a blogger
on the Internet, it is critical to understand the unwritten
rules of blogging etiquette.
If you copy another blog's post should
you link to them?
Yes, blog manners dictates that you make
every effort to credit the original source of the blog
post, this should be done through a link. The link should
not contain the nofollow tag. Generally speaking the
commentary about the quoted post, should be at least
as long as the post that is copied.
How much can you quote of another persons
Fair use allows for posts or portions
of posts to be quoted, but it is generally good practice
to only quote what is necessary to retain the context
of the post. When posting an excerpt from someone else,
it is imperative that the context of the post remain
If someone complains about having a
blog post copied, what should you do?
The appropriate course of action would
be to remove the offending post and replace it with
text that explains why the post was removed. Even if
you feel the post was simply fair use, and not a copyright
violation, net courtesy dictates that you respect the
wishes of the original poster and remove the content.
Why should you credit your sources?
Always credit the sources of your information.
Attribution is important, it not only extends your credibility
but it also will help build your channel for future
content. Sources seeing that you give appropriate attribution
will often reward you with additional information in
How do I validate information?
As a blogger, reputation is everything.
All items should be confirmed prior to posting. Consider
using two sources to verify that information is accurate
prior to posting. Also always use credible sources.
Second sourcing and relying on credible sources will
ensure that posts are accurate.
I made a mistake, what should I do?
If you have a change of heart, or posted
something that is not 100% accurate, apologize to your
readers and correct the information as soon as possible.
Not only is it the right thing to do, but often feeds
or blog posts are syndicated and unless a correction
is made the words could perpetuate unchecked. If the
mistake occurs in a blog post in addition to posting
an apology, go back to the original post and strikeout
the incorrect content and add a comment indicating why
the post has been changed.
How should my posts be formatted?
Break posts into readable chunks. Generally
the best posts are broken into multiple paragraphs.
Be careful not to alienate readers by using ALL CAPS,
this is considered shouting online and is thought of
as very rude.
Do I have to use proper grammar in
Proper grammar matters, grammar and spelling
may be inconsequential when instant messaging with your
friends but blogs, immortalize your words, the Internet
is becoming an archive for the past. Appropriate grammar
should always be used when blogging or posting to an
What does off the record really mean?
Always respect your sources. If you are
told something off the record do not report about it,
post it or share it with anyone.
What exactly is copywritten?
Any creative works are copywritten. In
the US and many other countriesm, even if the creator
does not apply for a copyright, the creative works are
protected by the copyright laws the moment the creative
work is created. Unless the creator waives those rights,
the creative cannot be reproduced or modified without
the creators permission. Copywritten work includes images,
text, music, or software.
If posting a controversial piece, is
it appropriate to include the opposing view?
It depends on the style of your blog or
RSS feed, but in general, it is best to include an opposing
view point on any controversial items. Let your readers
view both sides to the controversy, they will respect
the balance your provide.
Following basic netetiquette when blogging
and posting to RSS feeds will build credibility and
a following of loyal readers.
About the Author:
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll http://www.feedforall.com
software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds
and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for
a wireless text messaging software company.
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