As you guys know, I've been active on the internet over the past couple years, maintaining this blog and also serving as a moderator/maid of all work on The Lakehouse Forums. And I've seen quite a bit to make me write this blog post. There are certain people on the internet you like, and certain people who you annoy you sometimes, yes? Well, for me it goes up and down. Sometimes I'll love one member, the next day I'll be frustrated with her. But there are members that stand out from others, that we just adore and ask their advice and some sort of things. So based on my observations, here is my contribution to helping you develop a credible, positive online reputation.
1. Use good grammar and spelling
Everybody makes mistakes, and it's true that good grammar is getting less and less common, and there are perfectly good bloggers who have terrible grammar and spelling. But you can never go wrong, right? It makes you look smarter and calmer. And with Spellcheck everywhere, good spelling is only a couple clicks away!
2. Try to avoid emoticons, text talk and ALL CAPS
I excuse this with our girls on The Lakehouse because we're all sisters there and go hyperactive at the drop of the hat. But when you're just commenting or posting on a non-TLF forum, sounding like a hyperactive 11-year-old is usually not a good thing.
3. Be smart and check your information before you spread it
I cannot tell you the amount of times I"ve had crazy and not so crazy rumors spread to me, that sounded stupid, and the person didn't do any fact checking before telling me. It's not just "don't sleep with your hair wet you'll go blind" stuff, it's things like the addresses and personal lives of celebrities, and random news stories and new laws. Most of the time, these people's "credible sources" are anything but. Sometimes mistakes are made, and that's okay.
4. Please read up before you ask questions, and read instructions carefully
Wanna know what's really annoying? People who ask the same questions over and over and over and over even though you answer it in your FAQ page and half a dozen blog posts. Do some reading up! Use the search bar! Check to make sure the information isn't anywhere else on the site before bothering with a question. Also, if there are instructions to do something, please read them through CAREFULLY. It's really frustrating when people leave out steps or do the complete opposite. Not only do you fail to do whatever, it makes you look dumb.
5. Try to use google to look up how to do things yourself
There are tons of foolproof, user friendly tutorials and videos that can teach you how to edit pictures, use Blogger, and use photoshop better than we can.
6. When in doubt, be nice and courteous
You can never go wrong. Avoid polite sounding insults and the arrogant "I'm so much smarter and better than you and I'm done with you" tone I always hear from disgruntled noobs/trolls.
7. Stay out of internet troll wars/political debates/arguments/"discussions"
Nothing says "I don't know what I'm getting myself into" like when people engage in wars/flaming on sites like YouTube and "civil discussion forums"(really, there are no such things).The savvy know not to waste time and satisfy the other person with a response. Unfortunately, this is a lesson that is nearly always learned by experience(myself included). No snappy remarks, no comebacks, no dignified retreat. Just get outta there and do something else. Now if a discussion pops up on a site you already frequent and you want to get into it, go right ahead but be aware that your sanity, reputation, and friendships are going on the line.
8. If you've inadvertently offended someone, apologize and be done with it
No backhanded "it was partly your fault". Don't try to salvage the friendship or anything. Tell them you didn't mean to offend them, and you harbor no hard feelings. And you usually don't owe anything other than an apology.
9. Have a legit blog
Do real posts. Keep your sidebar elements to a minimum. If there's a picture on your design, there shouldn't be a picture on your header. Black and white are best for nearly ALL text. Please no autoplay music.The more minimal the better.
10. As a first rule, don't preface things with "this is just my opinion"
Of course this is your opinion. Everything you say is your opinion. Chances are we never took what you said as absolute fact in the first place. Try "I believe" or "For me"
11. When we tell you to drop the subject or not ask questions about something, listen to us!
No "I know you said not to discuss this or ask questions, but...." But what? But you think you're above listening to us and are deciding to ask anyway? Because maybe we didn't really mean it? Because prefacing your comment with an apology suddenly makes it all right? I sound upset because this isn't a small issue, it is blatant disobedience wearing a smiley face mask.
12. Be careful when you credit pictures
You may as well wear a sign that says "Throw paint at me, I'm new" if you regularly credit your pictures to Google Images, weheartit, deviantART, Pintrest, or some other sharing site. If you think a little about what those sites ARE(search engines and sharing/uploading sites), you might realize crediting to sites like those is perfectly worthless. You may as well credit "the rest of the internet". Try finding out the original artist or photographer(which you can usually do with a couple mouse clicks and digging) or say that "This isn't mine, I don't know who the creator was, if the creator is you, contact me and I will credit you here".
13. Use common sense, I'm begging you here....
All the above points are summed up into two words. Common. Sense. Please.
Anything else I missed? Any beef to take with me? Comment :P