Jul 05 2007

Blog Karma and Blogging Benevolence (Part Three)

Published by at 6:27 pm under blogging,karma

(This is Part Three of a four part series. Please see Introduction and Part Two for context)

The Actions of a Blogger on Social Networking Sites

Now elements of my previous post on the actions of a blogger in the blogosphere definitely carry over into the social networking arena. Remember you are also representing your blog in these environments, and your actions may well damage your blog’s karma.

Certainly, participation and conversation, building relationships and networking, reputation management, trustworthiness, benevolence, and graciousness should also be applied to social networking sites as well.

Often these types of sites come with their own “unspoken rules” and netiquette, which can be hard to appreciate at first. A good rule of thumb is – if in doubt – DON’T. It’s really hard not to get caught up in the excitement of it all, but often it’s best to wait it out a bit, be reactive not proactive until you get a “feel” for the site, and what’s acceptable. Rushing in like a bull to a gate can seriously damage your karma.

Blogging Networks

Probably the two largest blogging networks are MyBlogLog and Blogcatalog. These sites allow you to network with other bloggers, both as an individual and also a blog owner. You can make “friends” with an individual, and you join a community.

The quickest way to ruin your blog karma in this instance is to make a nuisance of yourself.

A classic example of this is the recent mass mailing debacle on MyBlogLog. The temptation to reach an audience of up to a thousand people, who had graciously joined their community, proved too much for some people on MyBlogLog.

With little thought about the content of their message or how it would be received, (I’d guess) hundreds of community owners mass messaged their community. I doubt any of the messages were sent with malicious intent, but the end result was to damage their karma via their credibility. One community owner (who has a few hundred members and whose blog I subscribe to and ) and someone with whom I have built an online relationship, on realising I was so vocal about this, sent two personal apologies to me and even posted negatively about the function. Such is the concern to maintain good blog karma.

Participation – if you wish to grow your community and gather friends, then you need to be active. Reciprocate friendships (where you have an interest in the other person) and reciprocate community membership with like-minded blogs. Actively seek out those blogs/bloggers you enjoy and join/befriend.

Conversation – make use of private messaging where possible, but only leave messages when you are being sincere. Members are very quick to see through messages that say “hey great blog, come and visit mine at example.com”, particularly when the sender hasn’t joined their community or even bothered to visit their blog. Chances are they will NEVER visit your blog. On this note, if someone has joined your community, and was interested enough to subscribe to your blog, then you DO NOT need to let them know every time you have a new post. Definite karma killer.

Benevolence – in this situation, benevolence can mean instigating the joining and befriending process even if it’s not reciprocated and being more proactive than reactive. Too much benevolence, however, can leave you open to criticism about seeking more attention for your blog, so it’s probably best to find a happy medium.

Social Bookmarking/Referral Sites

Under this category are sites like StumbleUpon, del.icio.us, digg and reddit.

Probably the best way to get good karma on these sites, is to “share the love” around. Don’t use these sites just for your own self promotion, but also to show your approval of other posts and sites. It might take a little bit of time, but you’ll find your karma increasing if you go out of your way to show your appreciation.

There is an option on StumbleUpon (SU) where you can send messages – again use this sparingly, and not for self-promotion. SU also has a function where you can “share” a URL with your friends. I have a couple of friends who use this function sparingly to recommend a link I’d like or one of their latest posts. Don’t abuse this function and it’s always nice to ask if someone minds first (which they did in this instance).


Forum members per se are usually pretty intolerant of self-promotion, so you should tread cautiously here. Remember, forums are about the conversation there and then – jumping in with links to your site, without making a worthwhile contribution will not help your karma. Take time to build your credibility, and only link to your blog where relevant. If there’s a place on your profile to display your home page, or in your signature do so if that seems the norm for the forum, but otherwise don’t.

Next Part Four – The Blog Itself

6 responses so far

6 Responses to “Blog Karma and Blogging Benevolence (Part Three)”

  1. Leighon 06 Jul 2007 at 10:19 am

    Finally, someone talking sense on Forums! Nearly every how to get traffic list says to use forum signature. What they fail to mention is not all forums allow advertising in signatures (my forums being one). I get it every day. People don’t bother to check what is acceptable and proceed straight to spamming.

  2. Megon 06 Jul 2007 at 6:18 pm

    Hi Leigh

    I haven’t been overly involved in forums, but in most you very quickly get the message that they’re very protective of a “spam-free” environment. It’s simply NOT the place.

    I’ve had some great traffic from forums (not so much on my blog, but other websites), so I can understand the temptation. But this traffic happened as a result of a well established, independent forum member linking out to solve a problem, not from me.

    I can’t believe that “how to get traffic” sites actually promote this medium – a sure way to set your readers up for bad karma.

  3. ladynadaon 08 Jul 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Finally a blog entry about ethics and social networking!


  4. AgentSullyon 12 Jul 2007 at 12:38 pm

    I am totally with you on the MyBlogLog debacle of “community messages.” I just delete them now because I don’t have time to read all of them. So I’m glad I haven’t used that. If it was used sparingly by everyone then it might not be bad to use it on special occasions to announce something new about your blog, but as it stands now I’d be afraid to use it.

    Regarding StumbleUpon, I’d be interested to hear everyone’s opinion on this:
    what if you send a post link of your own blog which is relevant to stumblers who are in a specific SU group? If the post is relevant and the message offers to review material that the recipient might want to share in return, could this not be ok? I’ve actually met some great folks this way on SU. For people who don’t like this messaging can be set to “off” or “only messages from friends” (I believe).

    What do you think?

  5. Megon 15 Jul 2007 at 11:39 am


    Sorry not to have responded sooner – this one slipped through. I’m working on a post about SU at the moment, & will raise this issue there. Hopefully we’ll get a discussion going on that.

  6. […] Anybody who wants to employ social networking to promote their website or blog needs to understand that members of social sites just simply do not respond to spam. There are many (often unwritten) social rules. […]