Safe Social Media: Your Blog

Photo by iowa_spirit_walker
Photo by iowa_spirit_walker

For the final installment of the Safe Social Media Series, I’m going to talk about our blogs. As you can tell, my blog is an amalgamation of everything I post/share on the Internet. My shared links and Twitter feed are to the right and I link to my more popular social networks, on top of writing articles on tech, politics, and whatever else catches my interest. You’re blog gives you the most control over your online presence, but it’s also the most insightful into who you are. For that reason, it takes the most upkeep.

When you write a blog post, you lay a lot on the line, whether you realized it or not. People will judge you on the content as well as how you present it; that is, they take into account your opinion, your sources, and your credibility (which can change with each post), along with your grammar and spelling. So let’s break this post down into those two categories.

The Content

There are blogs for all kinds of topics out there. Make sure you blog has some kind of focus. Mine started as my [entirely too] personal blog and it lacked a focus. I’ve since boiled it down to three major topics: Tech, Business, and Politics. The politics posts are few are far between as to not sound like a zealot, but this will be covered more later. Also make sure it’s interesting- writing a boring or useless piece will reflect poorly on you. I try to make sure my posts at least pose an interesting question.

Also remember, as with Twitter and Facebook, to use some precaution with certain content. Politics, for instance, is a hot button issue- and is something you should err on the side of caution. I run a business and should be careful because those posts, like it or not, could cost me some clients. However, I try to support my opinions with facts, cite sources, and not smear the other side as much as present another side to the argument. But the moral is the same: if it’s something you don’t want people to know, or something you can lose your job over, don’t post it. You can lose your job because of a blog.

The Way You Present Your Content

This could be more important than the content itself; if the presentation is poor, you will lose credibility instantly and people won’t even read what you have to say. What does this mean?

  • Have clear, concise thoughts.
  • Proofread! Spelling and grammar errors run rampant on the Internet. Don’t fall victim to them. If you’re not that great at it, get someone to help you at first, but learn. Read about common errors; also learn how to use spell check- most browsers have it built in. Otherwise, use you’re blog’s built-in spell checker, or copy and paste into a Word Processor.
  • Cite sources. DO NOT JUST MAKE CLAIMS. You can say whatever you want on the Internet. That doesn’t mean you should. If you present a fact that isn’t common knowledge, cite your source. It will make you 10 times more credible.
  • Make it easy to read. Break everything up into paragraphs, use lists when they are called for, and if it’s a long post try to break it up with images.

One Last Thing…

Aside from these two main points in maintaining a blog that will not hurt your reputation, it’s important to remember that if you’re leaving your posts open for comments, they should be moderated. Inflammatory remarks, even if you didn’t make them, will reflect poorly on you. Also, do not get into a flame war on your blog. Someone will inevitably make a comment you don’t like. Don’t fire back with a stupid or degrading comment. It’s your blog and people will remember that.