photo credit: flickr creative commons
In fact, I’m realizing that the rules of blogging are akin to those first golden rules you learned while sitting in circle time listening to your teacher with shiny hair and glossy lips. Can you picture her now, friend? She's on the swivel chair beside the flip chart with a permanent marker in her right hand and a painted smile on her face. She's asks a question about classroom rules, and your hand bounces up.
"Oh, oh." You say. "I know."
You want to be the first to answer her query, but she picks the student who has her hand raised properly. And it's the first time you realize there are rules to being picked.
- Do to others as you would have them do to you- Your teacher told you this golden rule from Jesus' sermon on the mount (Luke 6:31). It's a reminder to treat others the way you want to be treated. If you desire comments on your blog, leave comments on others. If you desire others to promote your work, promote theirs. If a new person leaves a comment on your blog, go leave one on theirs. It's that simple. (Did you read Nikki Studebaker Barcus' post titled "You've Got the Power"? It's a great discussion on technology.)
- Share- You always wanted to keep the blocks to yourself, didn't you (I know I did)? But your teacher reminded you that when you share, you make friends. Bingo. When you share other people's posts on your blog or facebook page, you develop friendships. Do you spend all of your energy in self-promotion? Philippians 2:3 says, "value others above yourselves." I know I long to focus on lifting up others this year. It's always more joyful, isn't it? (Check out Sharon Clifton's interesting article on how you can use Pinterest to promote other writers.)
- Be Polite- Your kindergarten teacher told you the words thank-you and please are the magic keys. Indeed, they open up doors to wonderful friendships. Remember the leper who thanked Jesus after he was healed (Luke 17:11-17)? I wonder if that leper had a deeper relationship with the Savior? Thank those who visit your blog by leaving a note on theirs. Write positive and kind blog posts. Is your blog an encouraging place? Is it a welcoming place?
- Don't take things that don't belong to you- You were taught not to steal your neighbor's fancy mechanical pencil, or his answers on the test. The same applies to blogging. Are you stealing content from others, or are you giving credit where it's due? Your readers want to hear your thoughts, not long blocks of quotes, or regurgitated material. And if you do borrow thoughts, make sure you site it.
- If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it- This is age old advice from your teacher and mother, and it still holds true for blogging. Don't clog up the web with unnecessary words. Ask yourself, is this post beneficial?
- Say sorry if you've wronged someone- You know how your teacher made you look into the eyes of the person you hurt and say, "I'm sorry." It was so hard to do, but it made you feel better, didn't it? If you've hurt someone through one of your posts, apologize. We all need grace.
Kindergarten was a positive experience when you followed the rules, wasn't it? It's the same for blogging. Follow the above guidelines, and you'll begin to see comments from a few strangers who may just become close friends.
And when that happens, be sure to thank your teacher.
*I got the idea for this post from the book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum
Melanie N. Brasher is a full time mama of two boys and wife to an incredible husband who understands her bicultural background. She moonlights as a fiction and freelance writer, crafting stories and articles toward justice and change. She's a member of American Christian Fiction writers and a contributing blogger for Ungrind. Though she's an aspiring author, she'll never quit her day job.