I am surprised at how much I have learned from blogging. Obviously writing more and writing regularly has honed my technical skills. I am far more conscientious about word choice and sentence formation, hopefully grammar but I ain’t fer sure on that.

I have learned about  food and customs and people from around the world, religions, governments, joys, sorrows and illnesses. I have made friends. I have laughed and cried and ground my teeth in anger over injustices visited upon my friends.  Just as people do when making friends in “real life”, in the blogosphere you get used to people’s idiosyncrasies and styles of communication. When are they joking? When are they serious? Who is sensitive? Who has a tough hide?  My friend Brigitte wrote a Freshly Pressed piece on Blogging Etiquette, which is a good read for new bloggers as well as those that have been around a while.

I am a fairly blunt communicator. On WordPress I have learned to hold my tongue, don’t respond in anger (or at least don’t hit send in anger), don’t tease someone if you don’t know how they will take it, be sincere, be positive, be kind. I don’t think I’m particularly diplomatic and I call ’em like I see ’em. I think I’m fairly in tune to the blogs I follow regularly and I can tell when there is action going on between the lines.

I guess where I’m slowly going with this is that while we form friendships here on WordPress, we are still typing. We aren’t Skyping so we can see facial expressions. We aren’t on the phone so we can hear voice inflections. We are typing words on a screen. And as with email or texting, sometimes what you  type isn’t what you meant or you didn’t mean it like that! So what if you do hurt someone’s feelings by accident? What if someone calls you out for something you wrote to them in the Comments section that they didn’t care for?

Instead of getting defensive, dramatic, self-righteous, etc… pause for a minute and reread what you wrote. Ask yourself, “is there a chance that my comment didn’t come across the way I meant it to?” Just take a breath and think, “how would I react if someone wrote this to me?”

WordPress is such a gift. It is generally such a positive place and if people need to rant, they need to rant, it’s not about you, it’s about the writer and what they need to express. That doesn’t mean that our words don’t have consequences and sometimes people don’t want to read our rants and that is fair. My main point is, in the Comments section, if necessary think hard before you hit Reply.

You never know when you might deliver a back-handed compliment.

219 thoughts on “Bloggomunications

  1. Yes! You, my friend, have totally nailed this WordPress experience in your post. I have always thought of other people’s blogs as their homes. You’re invited in, and you should bring a nice host gift in the form of a thoughtful comment. Also, if you don’t agree with what they’re doing in their home, you should be tactful in your response and refrain from crapping all over their living room. Do it in the bathroom (ie, think long and hard about a rebuttal.) Love this post!

    Aaaaaand “post comment!”

    1. Maggie O'C

      I like your approach better than mine. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. I’ve done that with blogs of people that I LOVE but I know I’m not going to be into the subject matter (looking at you Weebles 🙂 And if you hurt someone’s feelings, don’t fly off the handle, be nice. sheesh!

    2. unfetteredbs

      I love the way you worded your reply”I have always thought of other people’s blogs as their homes. You’re invited in, and you should bring a nice host gift in the form of a thoughtful comment.”
      Nicely said and great post Maggie!

    3. Nice analogy! If you don’t like a post, move on…In this case the writing style was easy and grammatical (grammar is a big thing for the Slo-Man….) and the point was well made.

  2. Maggie, great post and not just because you mentioned me — thank you, friend. But the thing about not being able to see facial expressions. Or getting your feelings hurt because someone doesn’t respond at all to your comment when it’s more than likely just an oversight. This, what you’ve written is perfect:

    “Just take a breath and think, “how would I react if someone wrote this to me?”

    And I agree with you, WP is a great place for this — making connections and I’m always astonished by the level of kindness, talent, insight and intelligence that is in the blogosphere. Yourself included.

    This post should be FP’d.

    1. Oh you’re sweet Brig as always. Getting to know you has taught me to be more aware to be more THOUGHTful, if that makes sense. Sad to say though, you are not the inspiration for this post 🙂 hahaha

      Internet communications can get so fiery and that is hard to balance with just a keyboard and a computer screen.


      1. Oh, I didn’t mean to imply in any shape, form or fashion that I was any kind of inspiration at all. You obviously don’t need that from me!

        I was just saying thank you for mentioning me within this post — just a simple thank you.

        So thank you.

        1. hahaha you’re so funny. I wasn’t saying that you thought that but you have been a good teacher for me. See right there, I did it! What I wrote came across like I was implying that you thought the post was about you and I didn’t think that for a second.

          This form of communication is really tricky.

          And you never have to thank me, unless I bought you like a really cool necklace or something.

        1. Maggie O'C

          I should say so!!! And then you get your chocolate 🙂 And I saw that you divulged some banana bread secrets. I didn’t follow your directions exactly b/c I couldn’t figure out what double cream is but thanks to you, I just made the best banana bread I’ve ever made!!! What the hell, you don’t have to pick up the other sticks!

          1. lazylauramaisey

            Amazing! I’m SO pleased the banana bread worked out for you. Does your house still smell fabulous?

          2. lazylauramaisey

            Amazing! I’m SO pleased the banana bread worked out for you. Does your house still smell fabulous?

          3. lazylauramaisey

            Amazing! I’m SO pleased the banana bread worked out for you. Does your house still smell fabulous?

  3. Great advice, Maggie, and not just for WP. Even with voice inflections and facial expressions misunderstandings happen and feelings get hurt. Communication is a beautiful thing when it happens, and mindfulness helps smooth the way! xoM

  4. Of course I agree with this wholeheartedly. We can’t see each other, but we’re all people with feelings, and we don’t always communicate ideally. I’m pretty blunt in my posts (obviously), but I make it a point to be polite and diplomatic on other blogs, just like if I were a guest in their home. Except for Le Clown. On his blog I have no problem telling him to suck it.

    1. I think that is my point, just as you and the Waiting have stated. When you are in someone’s home, be polite. It shouldn’t be that tough.

      And um, what makes you think I read the first one? 🙂 And that is a perfect example of us communicating well. You emailed me. I know who you were talking about but I didn’t feel like reading it and getting caught up in the uproar that day…. maybe in NY next month I’ll take you on or just drink to the two party system!!!

      1. Madame Weebles

        Ha, touche’! I figured you didn’t read it once you saw the title. And yes, I do the same thing—if I see a post and I know the subject is going to rub me the wrong way, I just skip it. It’s just easier.

        1. Maggie O'C

          I think it is important to be a discerning reader and if you know a blog is just going to twist up your panties, don’t read it.

    2. Weebs, you are passionate. I actually love your passion and regret our little moment way back when. I hope you can forgive me for acting badly. I’m passionate too and sensitive and probably a little dim at times. I should have just stayed clear, counted to ten, took a cleansing breath or just remembered who was writing the post in the first place. I’ve always liked you and I always will. xoxxo

  5. This is a great post, Mags. Lots to consider here. I know I’ve made my fair share of mistakes on all counts and feel bad if I have ever come off the wrong way. I would never want to hurt somebody – just the idea of that makes me sick. My biggest problem, beside the fact that I can sometimes be slightly moronic, is that I’m a face to face person. I, as a dyslexic, SOMETIMES miss the nuances. I need to look at a person’s face to really get the whole thing. I don’t twitter or facebook and I rarely use the phone. My communication of choice is face to face. I need people to see my face, too – not just because it’s beautiful, but because I’m very animated and rely on my expressions to do half of my communicating. (Hopefully everyone caught my little joke, there, right?) 🙂

    What I’d really love, and have been thinking about, is a community party that we can all attend. It would need to be planned well in advance (because I need time to lose weight). A party to celebrate our friendships and blogs. I’d LOVE to meet everyone in person. Disney world, Vegas (yes, I said that) Nuevo York? Wouldn’t it be fun?? Thoughts? Do you think people would go?

    1. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and thought, “ack I forgot to get back to Lisa!” I would love to have a blogging get together. I wrote a post about an imaginary one, I can’t remember what it was called. I think we could have regional ones…maybe?

      Herding Bloggers, I think that’s what it was called.

  6. The written word is a wonderful tool. We are simultaneously liberated and shackled by the fence it places between two people. One one hand, we can be braver, or really, just more ourselves without the social constraints of class, race, country, insecurity, sex, etc. I love the freedom that blogging allows. However, it does eliminate the other important factors of language, such as body talk, tone, and intonation (as you mentioned). Misunderstandings and hurt feelings are common. How else can we explain the success of trolling? I think it’s good advice to take pause when one is overwhelmed with feeling…especially anger. I’ve been a real dick to people because they got my back up. A knee jerk reaction and a fight later, I feel crappy and exhausted. I may never become a Buddhist monk, but at least I can learn to breath first. Nice post.

    1. Maggie O'C

      Thanks Sara. I think many of the comments I’ve received are far more eloquent than my post but we’re all on the same page. Oh har har, little writing joke!

  7. I get so comfortable with the banter exchanged in comment sections, so this was a good reminder to double check before I hit reply. Like you said though, WordPressors tend to be genuinely nice and laid back, so if something does come off the wrong way it most likely wont take a hands and knees plead to gain forgiveness.

    1. Maggie O'C

      Exactly! Give your comment a little thought and if it doesn’t go the way you planned, don’t get all pissy about it. Own it and move on. Thanks for reading.

  8. I think the thing to remember is that a blog is a very personal experience for many people. They take their writing very seriously, and dedicate their time and effort to putting out what they believe is good content. To come to someone’s blog without being aware of that, and just spouting any ‘ol thing is…it’s a lack of consideration.

    On the other side of the coin, I think as blog owners we need to take a step back and decide if someone truly meant what they said. Sometimes it’s a language barrier, sometimes people are being short because they’re commenting from their phone. The internet is a great place to become accidentally offensive.

    Great post!

  9. So odd that you posted this entry the same week that I had a miscommunication with one of my readers. I made the mistake of assuming everyone who reads my blog knows that I’m joking 99% of the time, and wildly exaggerating the other 1%. But someone took something I said seriously, which completely threw me off guard because I don’t think I’ve written anything serious in the last nine months. I tried to backpedal and apologize, but I think her feathers remained ruffled.

    I guess you can’t please them all….

    1. Maggie O'C

      You can’t and you have to do what you can do and then move on, it’s not worth getting blogged down in it. Get it?! See what I did there?!

      Did I tell you my girls went to see the Biebs? They sounded like old cigar smokers when they got home from screaming so much. sigh….

      1. LOL, guess who ELSE is going to see the Biebs? Me (and my little belieber). God help me. I’m thinking some heavy drinking might be involved beforehand, and a fuck-my-life blog entry will surely follow.

        The date of my doom is set for Nov. 29th….

        1. Maggie O'C

          Best of luck. I didn’t have to go and I didn’t have to pay for it b/c one of the friends moms had connections. Get one of those hats with the straws attached and put a big girl bottle of wine on top of your head.

  10. Good advice. I often try to remind myself that a joking tone doesn’t always come through clearly in my writing and that I’m not able to read the person’s facial expressions to tell how my communication is being received. It can be tricky and the likelihood of miscommunication can be high.

    1. Maggie O'C

      Thanks. I do it all the time so I know what I’m talking about! The best way to handle it, I think, is to own whatever you wrote, say “yeah I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like that.” And. Move. On.

    1. That’s what I do but I don’t hit Send 🙂 And you know Fish, you and I have gotten in to it but if the parties are respectful and not a attitudunal asses (thanks weebs) it can all be good.

  11. In all sincerity, this reminds me of Dom Irrera’s comedy bit about backhanded compliments. “You are the stupidest, fattest, emeffer I’ve ever laid my eyes on. I don’t mean that in a bad way.”

    Good stuff Mags.

  12. I love this post. I worry that sometimes my comments may not translate as I want them to. I try to add smiley faces and such to send some sort of non-verbal “I totally get it and I really like what you are saying” statement. And here is one for you: 🙂

  13. I love this. Truly great message that needs to be reflected upon in the “real world,” too. It’s discouraging how hurtful people have really started to become to one another but it’s always refreshing to see someone preaching kindness. Congrats on Freshly Pressed!

    1. thank you! I think the internet is unleashed a lot of inner rudeness probably b/c people can hide on the internet and act out. It’s sad. I think WP for the most part is a uniquely supportive and polite website.

  14. Great post, thank you for sharing.
    You know, as a semi-newbie I often wonder if what I am doing is correct or if I am being judged, etc. At first it was somewhat difficult, but now I am much more used to it and comfortable. Thank goodness I have not received any negative feedback, yet. I do like the positiveness here on WP.
    I’ll be sure to read your friends post.
    Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  15. Congrats on making Freshly Pressed. I totally agree about honing your communication skills. Blogging has proven to be a valuable outlet for my uncensored thoughts. Improving the way I communicate in writing is also a definite plus.

  16. love yer blog…party on garth. I’ve been blogging for years…it is a time honored gift for sure and helps one get out of one’s head by getting that stuff OUT of your head. …starting anew on wordpress. : )

    1. Maggie O'C

      hahaha…thank you for reading. I appreciate your comment and I am grateful that there are people out there who know “party on garth” 🙂

  17. Piper George

    Good advice. I am terrible for speaking and typing before I think. Leaning some restraint on the internet may help me in real life too!

  18. While I enjoyed the post, I was horribly amused by the comments! =] I’ve had readers mistake my sarcasm and spoofness (that’s my own special word) for sincere thoughts…and after multiple people telling me it was okay (I wrote about how I wanted to be on Freshly Pressed and it was making me “Freshly Stressed”) I had to clarify that I was completely kidding. I sometimes forget that all the people on the internets don’t know me…. ;}

      1. Vagabond in Service

        Hmmmm, gift cards ehh?…Do you think Applebees would do? ;} Yeah, I thought I was being super duper clever with the whole “Freshly Stressed” bit; I was pretty sure I’d win for the title alone. Alas, I blog on, drowning in unrecognized talent. LOL, I promise, I’m not that stuck on myself….but it sounded pretty didn’t it!

    1. There is nothing that you can say that can bother me b/c somewhere long ago in the motherland we had to have been family. Maggie and Padraig O’Connor.

      And family can always say the most heinous things to each other and it doesn’t matter, especially drunk Irish families 🙂

      1. Ha ha. Exactly, an insult from a drunken Irish person should of course be taken as a compliment. 😉 Nice blog!

        P.S. Just to be clear a compliment from an Irish person should not be taken as an insult… although it would depend on the way it was said.

  19. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!!! Words are powerful but they’re only a part of the conversation. I wonder sometimes if I’m misinterpreted and, on occasion, have gone back to clarify something if it was really bugging me. This is a great post!

  20. notedinnashville

    Sometimes feelings are hurt when no one comments and cyber crickets croon.

    I do often worry that I’ve said too much . . . or not enough . . . or should have included a smiley face . . . or shouldn’t have because they might think it’s lame.

    Anyway, congratulations on being Freshly Pressed. Great post!

      1. notedinnashville

        I doubt very seriously about the “loser” part. But, I’ve posted some really stupid comments. I don’t even realize how stupid until days or weeks later!

  21. Congrats on being FP-ed! I really liked how you saw relationships in the Blogosphere. We don’t see facial expressions and we don’t really know each other. So the potential for inadvertently hurting someone is high. At the same time, we probably get to know each other more in depth in some aspects than real life. That’s why I value these relationships. Thanks for an insightful post.

  22. shinobiswordsman

    You mean to say that people might actually use sarcasm on the internet? What a crazy idea! Seriously though, congrats on being Freshly Pressed

  23. hilmo1122

    So true! I find myself constantly asking how different people will read or take my words. I find that I too often depend on italics, bold found, and cap locks, to get my tone across. I always want people to read it how I would say it. It even makes me look at my words outside of blogging differently, which is definitely a good thing!

  24. I am a new blogger and I just wanted to say that I really liked your post. It helped remind me that other real people are out here in the blogosphere reading and posting just as I am. And that I should pay attention to my word choice. I’ve been trying to decide if I am supposed to write as an essay or as a conversation. Its a crazy balance, but I’m figuring it out. And posts like yours help me focus on figuring out all the important details in blogging (:

    1. Oh thanks lame! Did I tell you I really liked that Top 100 movie list. Good ones, not typical, some too deep for me and many I need to check out. You’re a trooper for sitting through so much “art”.

      1. foroneplease

        technologyyyy 😛 or may be it’s just me-the-lazyass.. thot I had put my blog link on the profile page u go..

  25. Hi there. This is a great post. I think you really hit on a very important topic regarding how much is lost in translation when all we have is the written word, with no inflection, facial expression or eye contact. My husband and I were in a long distance relationship for a time before he moved to my city, and I can’t count the unintentional hurt feelings and arguments that resulted from misinterpreted words in emails, chats or texts-and we obviously knew each other well, as we were engaged at the time. So that misinterpretation is certainly magnified when we are “real world” strangers to each other. Thank you for these thought provoking words, and congratulations on being FPed!

    1. Thank you so much. And you are absolutely right that these misunderstandings are not just here in the blogosphere but also in the texting/ email world even phone conversations can get mucked up. People need people 🙂

  26. I learned the hard way that my blog can sometimes be misinterpreted rather easily, and conversely I’ve learned that sometimes if I leave a comment it too is open to misinterpretation, just monday in fact. I’ve taken your advice partially in the sense that if I do decide to leave a comment on another blog I will word it in such a way that there will be no misunderstandings. As far as my own blog is concerned, I will not pull any punches in the least. I do not want to censor myself in any way. I know that sometimes this may lead to disagreements, but I welcome all comments that are germane to the topic(unlike some blog writers) and I will always answer the commentor to explain myself.
    All that being said, very nice article. Well done!

    1. Thanks! I think care needs to be taken in the Comments especially because you are on someone else’s turf. I say what I have to say in my blog, people don’t have to like it and I hope it encourages discussion. That being said, I’m not going to be a name caller or bully in my blog and I have nothing but disdain for those who are.

      Now I’m just rambling! Thank you for reading!

      1. Well, my blog centers mainly on woodworking so there usually isn’t much name calling and such going on. But I have certainly made my feelings known about some magazine editors and their views on safety, government regulations etc. (Yeah, believe it or not woodworking can get very political) I can proudly say that I don’t hold back when I give my opinion on topics like those. Scarily they respond sometimes. Anyway. Thanks again for the good article.

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  28. Great post! I was just thinking this morning how much I have learned from blogging…it is amazing, isn’t it? I think your advice here is wise. It is so easy to misinterpret or to be misunderstood when all you have to go on the the written word. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

  29. What a treat to wander back over to the blogosphere and see you Freshly Pressed. So deserving. This is great insight Maggie, unlike spoken word, written words stay there on the screen or page instead of vanishing into thin air, we should all choose wisely the path of breadcrumbs we leave across the interwebs that lead back to us. I have missed reading your words. Congratulations.

  30. You know, I’d love to forward this blog to some people who think they can get away with whatever they say since its on FB or gmail chat or via text messages. It’s sad how people look at such platforms as another way to say hurtful things to others and get away with it cause, “hey! i said it on a virtual platform!”

    1. Right?! It’s kind of like dealing with a little kid, just because your eyes are closed doesn’t mean we can’t see you. Whatever words you put on the interwebs are there for good. thanks!

  31. kikicutey

    Valid points that unfortunately need to be put out there.

    Is there ever really anything but a fleeting, shallow satisfaction when firing off at someone?

    XOXO and let your freak flag fly high.

    1. thanks and I take your point. I don’t know if it’s people who are so dissatisfied with their lives and communications that they really get a charge out of being an asshole on line but it sure does happen.

  32. I just find in this day and age, that we are so quick to take offense, people do not know how to argue or debate.If you think different than someone else, they soon criticize you with words they were previously condemning someone else for saying. I say think before you send but don’t be afraid to take what comes from speaking the truth if your intentions were well intended:)

  33. Tannerinchico

    As a follower of “something fat” since it’s inception, I am truly elated for its Press of Freshness. Maggie, your growth as a writer/blogger over the last 10 months has been award worthy, most certainly. You make a lot of people laugh and you make a lot of them think, as well. Keep those honest, genuine, heartfelt, funny, sometimes borderline inappropriate blogs coming!

  34. Have you been FP’d Maggie? Congratulations! I’m sorry, with the new wordpress layouts I never see who’s been FP’d any more. 😦 And congratulations on a great post. I’m learning that you can’t please everybody all the time and that you should not try to do so. Being true to yourself is sometimes more important than being diplomatic. Being offensive however, is just plain rude! So I’m learning how to disagree ‘nicely’. 😀

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  36. This is good advice that can so easily be applied to face to face too. Rarely do people really think of what the other person is really trying to say. We get stuck on how something was said, or the look they had when they said it. I say we need to always be considering what is the other person truly trying to communicate. Some people are REALLY bad at it and if we pause and consider motives or just dont assume the worse right away, what is being said may not actually be whats being said.

  37. Congrats for the FP and great post! I just did a post on commenting and how nice it is to have people respond on a post you took some time to put together and how I need to keep up with the commenting myself. 😀 it’s so much faster to just like a post (which is nice as well).

    Personally, I only had positive experiences in this wonderful blogging community here at WordPress. Keep up the wonderful work! Cheers, Lisa

    1. Thank you so much. Replying to comments was one of the first things I learned about blogging and I think it was good advice. You meet more people and establish your own community within the larger one. Snarkiness is rare on WordPress, thank heavens.

      Thanks Lisa!

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  39. Interesting, so that is how a balanced person does it. Take a breath and then release your creative venom on the unfortunate souls. I try, but sometimes my fingers react faster than my brain. How many times should I draw my breath then? In your professional opinion? Now, think well, I mustn’t lose all my biterness.

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