Tips for Civilized Blogging: The Poll
Hi there. My name is Eden Knoller and this is my first post for SL Blogger Support. As I was recently added as a contributor to the blog, I asked Katy where I might be most helpful. I had a few ideas (none related to photo editing) and she suggested etiquette. I am a bit of a Miss Manners when it comes to approaching this blogging thing so I embraced the challenge with enthusiasm. This is the first I hope of many posts on the topic. I have made my share of social blunders and oversights and hope that I can therefore help put etiquette in its correct perspective: helpful tips of the trade.
In early April a poll was administered here asking bloggers to give their 5 top “tips of the trade”. I thought I would start this off by publishing the results of that survey since I am a wonk at heart and love playing with data. The survey consisted of 5 response boxes rank ordered from 1 – 5. 20 people responded to the poll, so the data reported here is not valid for statistical purposes. However, as I sat with the data I started to notice a few trends, which are shown in the chart below:
The responses seemed to group into 7 distinct categories: utilizing credits, a presentable blog, quality photos, courtesy, being an active and consistent blogger, including text and overall avatar appearance. The simple graph above does not show where the item ranked from 1 – 5 on a response but interestingly while overall having good photos ties with courtesy as the most noted suggestion, it was not the most frequent #1 tip, which is reserved for credits.
I don’t want to get into length on each area (all wonks let me know if you want more data in comments) because that is evident in the graph but 3 areas were included in just about everyone’s responses. The main highlights of Credits included the following things you may see as obvious but many blogs do not include such as making sure your post has them and as specific as possible. Both designers and readers appreciate it as the main reason for most blog posts is to connect the two. Several people suggested spelling out the name of the store vs. using whatever shorthand moniker might be used in ads, particularly if you do not include a slurl to the store/event. I loathe doing slurls on my posts because they take more time than anything else but I do it because I feel it’s my job. The respondents also suggested using as much specificity as you can in describing the item. (Please refer to Why I Don’t Read Your Blog, recently published by Asthenia)
The other 2 large categories included a wide variety of responses. Having good photos did not suggest that you had to be a Photoshop pro or Flickr royalty. It really boiled down to knowing basics like how to use Windlight and getting rid of the hated jagged edges to making sure your clothing fits and shows the item in it’s best light (for example, why mention or expect credit for earrings that are hidden under your hair?). Courtesy discussed using it with two main groups of people: Designers and fellow bloggers. The most loathed faux pax in regards to approaching designers was the SPAM approach where an individual sends generic forms to a multitude of designers, often doing so numerous times. In close rank was asking for a sponsorship or review copies from a designer you have never purchased anything from or have no relationship. Also important was not degrading the work of a designer, particularly until you are sure it’s not a broader SL glitch for which they have no control. Courtesy to other bloggers was summed up very well by one respondent who said “Don’t become one of “THEM”, a rude, demeaning person who gets pleasure from discounting other bloggers, some of whom may not have the time you have or require a longer learning curve to develop a good blogging routine.
A lot of respondents, particularly as one of their final tips, talked about being active as a blogger as being important to their success. Every single one of us had to start with a first post. For many, participating in events, belonging to groups (like SL Blogger Support), plurking or becoming friends with other bloggers and offering help or looking up to someone, all made the learning happen faster and led to less burnout.
So what do you think, dear reader? Do you agree with the people who responded or do you have another top tip? Are there specific areas you would like to hear more about? We can get input directly from designers or bloggers or send out focused surveys. Remember, I’m the person who likes to play with spreadsheets, so I need your input!