Miss Wilma Preston’s Guide to Blogging Etiquette

Bloggington Post

Miss Wilma Preston is a noted author and etiquette consultant who has worked in both the business and private sectors and most recently was etiquette advisor to many of the world’s political leaders. In 2014, she announced her retirement from the political arena saying, “There’s nothing I can do.” Miss Preston now writes a regular column here at the Bloggington Post, answering our readers’ questions on blogging etiquette.

Reciprocal Manners

Dear Wilma, I was told that if someone follows your blog, it is polite to follow theirs. I have lots of followers who never say anything about my posts so I’m not sure if they’re even reading them. I always read their posts and comment on them. Is it okay not to follow them if they don’t do anything? Rete Ernable

Dear Rete, Reciprocity has always been a difficult etiquette area. You are correct in understanding that courtesy would dictate that a follow gets a follow. However, in my work I have seen many instances in which this understanding has been exploited by the unscrupulous. You will find, Rete, that there are some people who “play the game” as we used to say on the hockey field when I was a girl. It is a strategic move to garner more followers but they have no intention of returning the favour. My advice in this situation is that if it is clear that a follow is only to gain yours (for example, if your blog is about knitting tea-cosies and you receive a follow from someone who blogs about hog-tying) then I think it acceptable not to reciprocate.

More Readers!!

Dear Miss Preston, Thank you for your wonderful column! You always give such great advice!! I have been blogging for about three months now and it is so much fun!!! My question is why am I not getting many readers?????!!! I think I am a great writer!! But I only have a few readers!! And even when someone does read a post and comment, I never seem to see them again!!!??!!!?? Can you help me??!!?? Perky Buttons

Dear Perky, Thank you for the compliment. I believe you will have more success if you learn to moderate your punctuation.

Reading Time?

Dear Wilma, I love blogging and I have lots of great bloggers I follow. I like to read all their posts and make a comment if I can. Recently, though, I have been really busy in my work as a Doll Hospital nurse and I am now behind on reading the blogs. What is the Catching Up etiquette? O.V. Loaded

Dear O.V., First let me say that yours is a common problem and it is a question I am often asked. There is no easy answer in terms of etiquette nor in terms of convenience. You can work through the old posts for all your bloggers in chronological order but this can be time-consuming and ultimately fruitless. You will in all probability continue to fall behind. Catching up with one blogger at a time makes it easy to ensure you have read all their posts, however other bloggers may be offended you have not visited their blogs. If you follow the etiquette rule I always promote – “Don’t just click” – and write a comment on each post, the blogger will suddenly find him- or herself with six comments from you to which they must respond. This may make them grumpy. My best advice is to forget the old posts and just write a comment on the newest one apologising for being absent. Although I do not usually recommend it, at times it can be acceptable to utilise a “I fell under a bus” excuse if you so need. Good luck with your reading!

Miss Wilma Preston welcomes all blogging etiquette questions from our readers. Send your letters to The Editor, Bloggington Post, Global Post Box 2003.

 

 

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Social Etiquette 101: Fail

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I don’t understand social etiquette. I don’t mean the practical side of it like which knife to use or how to eat a bread roll in a restaurant (tear don’t cut, butter small pieces not the whole thing at once). Special family occasions were always spent in a formal dining room at a club when I was growing up. We learned quickly and could soon look as disapproving as the next person whenever a waiter made a mistake. (Once, a waiter poured red wine into my father’s glass which already had white wine in it. Voilà! Rosé!)

No, I don’t understand interpersonal social etiquette. Greetings, farewells, compliments. I don’t know if it’s because I’m a shy person or I just have a learning blind spot.

Greetings

Almost there, must concentrate more. C-

One person I already know standing on their own, that I get. Walk up, say hello. But what if they’re talking to someone else or a group of someone elses? Is it rude to interrupt? To join the circle?

Greeting someone I don’t know? If they’re on their own, I can usually manage. Walk up, say hello, introduce myself. (The shy person inside is hyperventilating but you gotta do what you gotta do so I just tell her to breathe into a paper bag.) A group of someones I don’t know? Forget it.

And introductions. I think my ears go into some sort of shock when I’m introduced to someone new because I can never remember their name. This is not an issue if I’m never likely to see them again but it can be embarrassing at a next encounter if they call me by name and I just have to mumble a reply. Worse, if someone joins us and as I understand from my (failed) study of social graces that you are supposed to introduce the joiners and the joinees to each other, not remembering the other person’s name is… a problem.

Farewells

Could try harder. D

What’s so hard about saying goodbye? Right? When to leave, what to say, what to do if the person you want to say goodbye to is speaking to someone (are you allowed to just sneak off?), how to say goodbye to a large number of people… It’s a minefield, I tell you.

Compliments

Needs to improve. E-

Shudder. I am equally hopeless at giving and receiving compliments. I have a self-deprecating disposition so my natural instinct in responding to a compliment is to deny its validity. “Ha ha,” I laugh nervously. “You obviously weren’t listening very closely! Ha ha.”

I have, through sheer willpower, managed on occasion just to smile and say “Thank you” but when I do, I swear the Compliment Giver is waiting for me to say more. What??

Presumably I am expected to give a compliment in return. Okay, this I truly suck at. It’s not that I don’t think the other person is compliment-worthy; I just can never find the right words when I need them. Of course, they come to me later and I spend the rest of the day/night reliving the conversation in the way it should have gone. (Out of desperation, I’ve been known to send an email to the person in the form of a ‘This Is What I Should Have Said’.)

Help-Wanted-Sign

Looking for a cure for Social Graces Blindness.

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