Blog Etiquette – How To Write About Someone Else

My mind is in online etiquette (netiquette) as I’m finishing up my netiquette book.

This morning in my Google Alerts I found out about a post someone wrote that referenced my book.  I have had the post up in a tab for a few hours trying to figure out how to handle it.  I was going to put a link to the post and a screenshot but I really don’t care to “out” this person… since it might be embarrasing to him.

I do, however, want to voice the issue, and share some blog etiquette 101, as I know a few people follow my blogging stuff.

There are specifically two things that this person did wrong.  In fact, as I think about what he did, the words “gross negligence” comes to mind.

Why?  Because he might have tried to write the post to get on my radar (not to be presumptious, but some people do that kind of thing (including ME))… but the reality is once he got there I was, as an ego-driven blogger, OFFENDED.

Okay, maybe all caps is too big.  But still, fixing these two things could have left him with a strong post and had me think highly of him.  Here are the two things:

  1. Link back to my *stuff* I say stuff loosely because he could have linked to my professional speakers site, or my LinkedIn book site, or my LinkedIn DVD site, or JibberJobber, or even the Amazon page for my LinkedIn book.  I have plenty of stuff for him to link to but not once did he link out.  He appears to be a new blogger (although a seasoned business person), so I’ll take this as a common mistake.
  2. Not include so much of the content from my book. His post takes the main points of an entry in my LinkedIn book’s appendix and lays it all out there.  This can be good (all publicity is good, right?) or bad (he didn’t ask permission to put all of that stuff there… I wonder if Seth Godin would like me to include one full page of his book text without permission?).  If nothing else, asking for permission would be all I needed… or linking to my book site would be good, but all I see here is my ideas on his blog with little attribution (he attributes me and the book, but no links).  It seems like that is just too much info to put in the blog post.

For point #2 I would suggest (if he were a blogging client) that he puts 2 or 3 or 4 points, and then says “to read the rest of Jason’s ideas, check out his book on Amazon or on his book blog.”

I try and do that all the time – quote a little bit of stuff from someone but point the readers to the original post (or source) for more.

Lesson to anyone using blogs as a business or marketing tool: respect others.  Stroke egos of bloggers.  Do that and you can create an army of evangelists for your stuff.

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