An Open Letter to Bloggers

To Whom It May Concern:

My occupation is based in social media. I spend a significant amount of time reviewing blogs. In addition, I spend more time than the average person on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest. It is based on this experience that I offer you the following advice:

  • Stop it with these: { } You don’t just put random words into brackets for fun. What you are doing makes absolutely no grammatical sense. You think it is cute; it looks ridiculous and twee.
  • Cease referring to yourself as a Maven. Or a Guru. Or an Expert. Unless you actually have some street cred and can back it up. Words have meaning. Having a Twitter account does not make you a social media maven, a marketing guru or any type of expert. Reading Blogging for Dummies does not make you a consultant. It’s okay to not always have a title.
  • Do not make things fly across my screen. I counter-attack by making my arrow fly across the screen to close your blog. I win.
  • Stop stealing stuff from other people. Watermarks mean that it belongs to someone else. Same thing with the word proof. If it doesn’t have a creative commons license, don’t copy it. Don’t publish it. Get your finger off of the right click or whatever it is that Apple people do. Just because something is on the internet doesn’t mean it is in the public domain. Let me repeat: copyright applies on the internet. Buy your photos. Make your own photos. Stop stealing your content. If you are properly using something under fair use, bravo. But if you don’t know what fair use is, stop trying to make a losing argument.
  • Don’t cheat and don’t lie. The internet knows and it is watching. Someone will figure out and you are going to get busted. Usually, when that happens, shit gets awkward. It’s a lot easier for all involved if you don’t do it in the first place.
  • You do not need to break Facebook’s Terms of Service to be popular. Don’t do it because everyone else does. Bloggers would be better served if everyone stopped.
  • Learn how to use an apostrophe. Mom’s are awesome. That’s not right. If you are staring at a word and thinking, I do not know if this gets an apostrophe or not, please think, do I mean that there is more than one of this thing. If that’s what you mean, you do not want an apostrophe. Apostrophes are not how you make words plural. It’s how you make contractions and possessives.
  • Please stop misspelling judgment. (This one is a stretch, I know.)
  • Do not publish blurry photos. You don’t need photographic content so badly that you should post bad pictures.  Also, do not post 19 photos of the same thing. If you are going to do that, I recommend a video. A series of moving pictures. They have great impact.
  • Disclose. If you are working with a brand, disclose it. Be transparent. There is no need to hide it.
  • If you are criticized, accept it with grace and humility. Your blog is your domain, but if your audience gives you respectful feedback, listen. Do not call people “jealous haters” simply because they disagree with something you’ve done. (First of all, they aren’t jealous. They’re envious.) Dissent is not always a sign of envy. Sometimes people are simply not into what you are doing and they will tell you about it.
  • Be true to yourself. Why are you posting things about products that you would never use simply because a brand sent them to you for free? It is exciting when you get attention from brands, but you should only accept campaigns that are true to your personal brand.
  • Verbiage doesn’t mean what you think it does. And verbage? Oh boy.
  • Your content is why people are visiting your blog in the first place. Content comes first. Treat it with respect.
  • Stop stabbing me in the eyes when I look at your blog. When you make poor design choices, I will not visit your blog again. It might seem like a good idea at the time, but just like reviving acid washed jeans, it’s not. You don’t have to pay a dime to have an attractive blog. Check out this site for practical tips on how to make your site more user-friendly and less cringe-worthy.

Please consider these points and we can discuss more at a later date.

Thank you,
Danielle

Comments Closed

Comments

  1. Very nice Danielle! There are some {great} tip’s here! Sorry my blurry photo wouldn’t paste into this comment box! lol! Seriously though, great stuff here. Thanks for sharing!

  2. I am so guilty of the squiggly parentheses. Excellent post.

    • Danielle says:

      Everyone loves the curly brackets. As far as I am concerned they should be banned and concerned only a mathematical symbol. I’m dealing with their existence, but I still do not accept straight-up random words being placed inside of them. We’re talking words that would’t normally go in brackets. Doesn’t make sense.

  3. Verbage is not a word. That is why it is always underlined in red when you type it. Garbage does end with “age.” So does “verbiage.” “Verbage” ends with “what the heck are you trying to say?” I wasn’t going to say anything, but the maven expert in me was envious of you!
    http://funandfit.org/2012/05/motivational-quotes-to-move-you/

  4. Yes, yes, a thousand times YES! This is definitely in the “MUST SHARE” category. Please excuse me for getting a little happy with CAPs.

    Thanks so much for saying what needs to be said. I would have said it but I’m a bit slow.

  5. Oh how I salute you for writing this and saying aloud what I’ve been whispering to people for a long time. Excellent post my friend. Excellent.

  6. I hate to admit it but I’ve been spelling judgment wrong for years. ;)

    • Danielle says:

      I understand. I spelled it on a daily basis while I was in private practice, so this is a sensitive issue for me. Dancing with the Stars perpetuates the damn British spelling. There’s no extra e in the US version. It’s just not right.

      • Dave Bartlett says:

        So what the hell gives you the authority to declare the ‘damn British spelling’ incorrect. It is after all the English language. It’s ‘judgment’ that’s ‘just not right’

    • Dave Bartlett says:

      No Jamie, if you’ve been spelling it ‘judgement’ then you haven’t been spelling it wrong for years. I’d hold the Oxford English Dictionary as a higher authority on the subject than Danielle.

      • Danielle says:

        Jamie, if you are from the US, the appropriate spelling is judgment. Consult grammar and usage guides.

        • Dave Bartlett says:

          Jamie. I agree: if you’re from the USA then by all means use the USA spelling, (perhaps after first taking time to consider if anyone outside the USA is likely to read what you write) but certainly DON’T accept criticism from self-professed experts who declare that by using proper English, you’re in some way at fault.

  7. You have most eloquently put into words what has long needed saying. I really hope the people who need to see this do. I especially love the expert guru mavens- having a two year old doesn’t make you a parenting expert any more than having a Facebook and Twitter account makes you a social media rock star.

    • Danielle says:

      Expert guru mavens are a very tough crowd. I should have addressed the rock stars too. I think there is clearly another post brewing.

  8. We just fell in love, you and I. Obviously no one is perfect but this page made me laugh while also encouraging me to be more of a rock star. Can I call myself a rock star if it’s not in relation to anything? I know sign language for rock star if that helps my credibility. Yes? Okay good.

    • Danielle says:

      You can be a rock star as long as you aren’t lying to yourself and others. If you suck, the rock star thing is a lie. I understand if you need to do it for your self-esteem, but I’d prefer you don’t call yourself a social media rockstar in your Twitter bio. :) (I am putting that smiley there due to the lack of sarcasm font.)

  9. Love this!!!

  10. Great list! I am guilty of some of these periodically.

    • Danielle says:

      We are all guilty of some of them. I’ve done most of them, I’m sure. Except misspell judgment. I have not done that. (That’s messed up.) These are just the trends that I see happening generally. That I want to stop.

  11. Thanks for the tips, that are all so true! I think there’s a lot of things on there that I need to work on. It’s hard to produce good content every single day. I think I need to THINK more about what I want to post about. I totally agree with your points about respecting the content, that is after all WHY I started a blog in the first place!

    • Danielle says:

      I fully believe in quality over quantity. If you can product three really good posts per week, that’s better than ever day. That’s why I post twice a month. I’m really not that interesting.

  12. Awesome tips. I love your sense of humor. Love. And the clever responses are equally awesome. Thanks!

  13. Lol love the tips! Nice work!

  14. This is great!!

    • Danielle says:

      Much appreciated. (See, I can’t just say thank you each time as social conventions would dictate. WordPress says it is a duplicate and won’t let me. So, I can add more exclamation points and look like I am slowly becoming unhinged or try to say it in different ways.)

  15. Oh, this is simply beautiful. I would just add (at least) one more tip – I hear/see “I could care less” so much lately that I want to scream. It’s “I couldn’t care less,” people!

    • Danielle says:

      That one pisses me off too. And I did it the other night. Said the wrong thing to my husband. The look of disgust that I gave me… I was so punished.

  16. LOL! I am not a guru, nor have I ever claimed to be. I hope to never stab anyone in the eye. Although there have been times I have wanted to stab myself in the eye to distract me from something else more painful.

    I am guilty of the occasional {wink} and do love my ellipses…. But I also agree that the proper use of the apostrophe is non-negotiable.

    • Danielle says:

      I’m starting a shop soon with my amazing grammar thoughts on them. They’re going to be all the rage.

      Ellipses are awesome. Don’t stop using them. Ever.

  17. I totally agree with not posting 19 pictures of the same thing! I love great pics, but I don’t want to be scrolling for five minutes. Great post!

    • Danielle says:

      19 pics is like one of those flip books that you get when you’re a kid and you are like, “omg, it’s a cartoon when you make the pages move.” But you can’t make it a flip book because it’s a web page.

  18. Ok, I think I’m only guilty of bullet #1, I’ll take that as a win! ha. Awesome list, more people need to read this!

  19. This needs to be read by a number of people in my feed reader lately … oy!

  20. Thanks so much for sharing this! I learned a lot. I am totally guilty of using the {} in post titles.

    • Danielle says:

      The curved brackets have taken over in the past 6 to 12 months. My pure hatred of them aside, I can’t accept when they are used for random words. You don’t use punctuation for no reason. It’s like me throwing the word zebra in a sentence for no reason. I like Zebra oatmeal. Hmm, that changes it, doesn’t it? That’s what punctuation marks do. Grammar means things. (Yes, I exhaust me on this subject.)

  21. I hate the word guru.

  22. Ha! I’m sharing this in every blogger group I belong to! :-) It absolutely fascinates me that poorly written and designed blogs get so big and make money.

  23. Bravo! I admit to spelling judgment wrong, but I’m a terrible speller. This is why I use spell check. I would amend the second point to say that even if you do have “street cred”, don’t use the words maven or guru in your job title. It sounds ridiculous, and it makes me take you less seriously, not more.

    • Danielle says:

      Maven and guru have basically been stripped of their meaning. As job titles, they are very silly. I’d go with Social Media Superhero of the World before Social Media Maven at this point.

  24. I love my {marks}. But I guess if it means you won’t visit me, then I will stop. =) Great points!!

    • Danielle says:

      Everyone loves those damn brackets. I get it. They are cuter than parenthesis. Sigh.

  25. Thank you so much for this post! Every single point you made is spot on and very useful information to always keep in mind.

  26. This? Is precisely why I bow to your awesome. Also…I would like to add that pop-ups and auto-play music are no-nos as well.

    • Danielle says:

      I keep my volume turned off most of the time. (Unless Kanye is on Spotify.) I like to think that auto-play music has stopped happening and is a moot issue.

  27. While I don’t regularly review blogs and sites, I do share so many of your frustrations with pages I find in my Internet travels. With that said, please don’t look at too many of the pictures on my site – they need a great deal of … photographic improvement.

    • Danielle says:

      I will overlook it. My own photos are not amazing. And sometimes, there is a bit of blur when I need to capture kitty laser eyes or a kitty fight in action.

  28. Well said. Refreshing, straightforward reminders for us all!

  29. Gah! I used those squirrelly parens last night! But I was cueing a dream sequence, and how else can you signify that “doodly doo, doodly doo” Wayne’s World noise?

    And as a former newspaper copy editor, I agree with everything you wrote. Everythingeverythingeverything.

  30. Dave Bartlett says:

    Extract from the Oxford English Dictionary:

    judgement
    Pronunciation: /ˈdʒʌdʒm(ə)nt/
    (also judgment)
    noun

    See: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/judgement?q=judgement

    It doesn’t have to match the way YOU spell it to make it correct. JUDGEMENT is correct!

    • Danielle says:

      This should be Open Letter to Bloggers from the US.

      The additional ‘e’ is the British spelling, which I blogged about a couple of years ago. Just as colour is not the correct spelling in the US, neither is judgement.

      Edited to add e to judgment based on comment below. Thanks, Dave.

      • Dave Bartlett says:

        Then you should state that you’re addressing your comments not just to American bloggers, but to those American bloggers who are prepared to ignore the fact that English is a language in use worldwide and is NOT restricted to the USA, who can’t accept the fact that the proper English spellings of English words are by definition, the correct spellings of English words, despite the corrupted alternatives you choose to use, and who are prepared to accept you as an authority on its correct use. What was that rule about not declaring yourself a guru unless you can back it up?

        By the way, If you want to retain any credibility whatsoever, I suggest you check your previous comment where you said “Just as colour is not the correct spelling in the US, neither is JUDGMENT.”

        • Danielle says:

          Yes, I will fix that. Thanks. Spelling it without the e is habit.

          At what point did I call myself a guru? I said that I work in social media and that I notice a lot of common mistakes. I am based out of the US as are the majority of my readers, so I am very sorry that I’ve offended you with the “corrupted alternatives” that we use in the US.

          The judgment/judgement conversation came up more than once while I was in private practice, I do own a number of writing/grammar guides that make the same points. However, this post wasn’t meant to be a cited scholarly article.
          I’ll be sure to incorporate your feedback into my future posts.

  31. As a new blogger I appreciate what you have called attention to in this post. It is not the first time I have read posts like this so it is obviously something that needs to be said. I also appreciate how you have handled the whole ‘judgment’ argument. Well done. :)

  32. I knew I liked you!

  33. I completely 1000% agree with all of the things that you’ve listed here, and find way too many blogs don’t seem to place much value on basic spelling and grammar. However (and I promise I mean this with only robust curiosity, after just discovering your blog and enjoying it thus far) I am wondering, how do you reconcile the fact that most of FitFluentials fitness ambassadors are guilty of nearly all of these flaws? Some to the point where a reader wonders if the blogger even cares to proofread, or could find errors even if she did?

    Is this because your blog here is completely a personal blog? Or do you also not read or enjoy many of the blogs with which FitFluential partners?

    Just curious!

    • Danielle says:

      Cassie,

      Thanks for your comment. First, I will stress that this is a 100% personal blog. I will also be the first to admit that I have made tons of these mistakes, which my husband is usually kind enough to point out so that I can correct and act like they didn’t happen.

      I think that in any area of blogging, there will be flaws. Our goal at FitFluential is to help people grow as bloggers and connect them with brands. We do also provide feedback to our bloggers if we notice room for improvement. Normally via a private email to the blogger. We also try to communicate with the entire group when we see areas that can apply to many people.

      I do enjoy many of the blogs in our network. We have some really talented and fun writers. I’m also starting to accept that I can’t stop the {random words}. I don’t do it and it drives me crazy, but I don’t think it is going away!

      • Danielle says:

        And by flaws, I mean the types of errors that I describe above. That sounds a bit harsh.

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