First, a quick announcement--I'm blogging/ranting over at Nicole Basaraba's blog today: Oh, You Write THOSE Books – On Writing Romance I'd love for y'all to stop by and say hi. :)
Alright, onto today's topic, which happens to be a bit of a rant as well, lol. Must be that kind of week for me...
Hang around the blogosphere long enough and you'll see the posts - How to Be a Good Bloggy Friend, Blogging Etiquette 101...hell, I even did one a few years ago. But I have to say, the posts and the concepts behind them are starting to grate on me a bit.
The main "rules" stem from the idea of bloggers supporting each other through reciprocity. You comment on my blog, I comment on yours. I follow you, you follow me. In theory, this is a nice thing to do. We all rally around and support each other.
And in the beginning, when you're first starting a blog, this is really the only way to get it rolling. You have to put yourself out there on other blogs so that people know you exist. No one wants to blog into the ether and have nobody hear it. So the reciprocity thing can be a great way to start making friends.
But where it starts to irritate me is when the other behaviors get labeled "bad" blogger behavior. For instance, you're a bad bloggy friend if you don't go and comment on everyone's posts who left you a comment that day. Or, you're not a "real" follower because you don't leave regular comments on a blog you follow or maybe you follow but don't stop by regularly.
Calling that "bad" behavior, my friends, is bulldookie. That behavior is real life. I would hope most of us have actual lives and obligations outside of the internet. We should not have to suffer a guilt trip because instead of visiting all of our blogroll that day, we turned off the computer and took our kid to the park. We shouldn't have to "catch up" at midnight and hit all those posts we missed out of some sense of obligation.
When did we become so self-centered? If you find yourself thinking, "Wow, I've left three comments on so and so's blog this week and she hasn't even retweeted mine. Well, fine, I'll show her, see if I visit her blog next week" then you're getting sucked into the me-me-me abyss. (We've all been there.) But do you really want a comment or a visit out of obligation? Because someone is "supposed" to stop by because you scratched their back? Are you only stopping by their blog so that you get a comment back?
Reciprocity is a nice thing, it should not be a requirement. When you make it a requirement in your head, it becomes self-serving. You're only commenting other places because you want people to come to your blog. Blogging relationships should not be quid pro quo.
If you want people to follow you, be followable. Write interesting, entertaining posts that people enjoy.
If you want people to comment, write posts that encourage discussion. And do try to participate in the discussion even if you can't answer every comment.
If you want to be a good bloggy friend, be genuine and don't do things with the ulterior motive of getting something in return.
This is why when I joined Triberr, I refused to join tribes that required you retweet every members posts every day. No way. I only retweet things that I find interesting or that I think my followers would like. Even my very favorite bloggers don't have a post relevant to me EVERY time. And I know that not everything I blog about is going to appeal to everyone every day. And that's perfectly okay.
So free yourself from that "obligation".
Comment on posts you find interesting or want to discuss.
Follow blogs that provide consistently good content.
And visit posts that catch your eye.
The making friends part will happen organically as you meet people who share similar interests.
In the end, this will make us all better bloggers because instead of counting on the quid pro quo follows/visits, we'll find out what content really connects with readers and which doesn't.
So what do you think? How do you feel about the quid pro quo thing? Do you ever feel blogger guilt because you haven't kept up with your friend "obligations"? Do you find yourself feeling resentment when someone doesn't return the favor?