Sunday, February 04, 2007

Are You New To The Natural Hair Blogging Community?

I was asked off-line how to "join-in" on the fun from a person who's new to the online blogging community. Less than two years ago, there were only a few folks actively blogging about their natural hair. Now the online blogging community is growing by the day. Do a Sisterlocks Blog Search and see what I mean. Here's my own personal tips for those beginning the blogging journey. Others may have a different opinion:

Invitation? There's no real "invitation" to join in on the online blog community of natural/locked women/men. The Locked Hair Blog Exchange is by invitation if you'd like your locked hair blog in the Exchange, but for all other groups, you sign up and you're in. A lot of Sisterlocked women began their online connection from what I gather, from three main places: The Yahoo Group Lockitup, on Fotki, and the other largest community of natural hair/locked women, Nappturality. The relationships form as you post your questions and give feedback on other's journeys or your own. If you haven't joined these groups, do so ASAP and begin making comments. Spend time reading the archives, for they will provide a lot of answers to questions you have.

Making your blog a place folks want to visit. The online locked hair community wants to see pictures, pictures, pictures. And believe it or not, getting a good look at your hair is more important than seeing your face. Take good shots in good lighting so your hair can be seen. If it's not a good picture, don't waste your time uploading it.

"We be" an educated group of folk. Most of the bloggers are educated and don't enjoy visiting blogs where there's a lot of slang, typos and just plain bad grammar going on. We all have "slang" moments, but when the blog shows no form of intelligence, it may hamper visitors who will return. Although I will say there's a small niche of folk who dig that stuff. Ask yourself, if you'd enjoy reading your posts and looking at your own pictures a week, month, or year from now. That will help you in determining if posting the content or pictures is worth it. I have quite a few "drafted" posts that I didn't want to delete, but didn't feel needed to be public on my blog for whatever reason.

Keeping it current, will keep them coming. Or maybe not. Keeping your blog fairly current helps. When you are new out, don't expect because you keep your blog current that folks should be visiting it or commenting on what you have to say. You may not have readers yet, but don't stop blogging. However, when a blog isn't updated regularly it's a natural progression to stop visiting it. Trust me, I have a few dormant blogs that need major updating, so I know! I don't even visit my own old stale blogs! Ha! But seriously, try and update regularly. So as to not overwhelm you, regularly doesn't mean once a day. Once a week is just fine, and if time is an issue, once a month. Just try and keep it current.

You've found some blogs you like. What do you do next? Comment, Comment, Comment! Don't ask for comments back, but simply comment on what you like and what you're curious about. That's how the ball gets rolling. It lets one know you've been by to check out their blog/album and liked what you saw. Anyone who's interested in you and your journey will naturally visit your blog/album and comment back. Don't be offended if no one comments or if you comment on someone's blog/fotki and he or she don't return the favor. We never know why folks do or don't do the things they do and there's no use in being over sensitive about it or quivering over it. Try not to take offense or over analyze the situation. Just keep visiting blogs you like and comment on what interests you.

To link or not to link? That is the question. Don't worry about asking to "link" someone else's blog to yours. It's a courtesy to ask, but not really necessary. Most bloggers are honored you've linked to their blogs and that keeps them motivated to blog more often. Don't be offended if you link to someone's blog but they don't link yours back. You linked to theirs because you chose to. Give them that same courtesy to make their own decision to link you and if they don't link you, don't trip. Some folks may be too lazy (like me), too busy(like me) or simply choose not to for their own reasons (like Jen-she told me to add that :-)). Some may not want tons of links on their blogs. Some may not know how to link. Some don't want the pressure or bother. Don't lose sleep over it.

Why link? Linking other's blog to yours helps in search engines as well as gives one a quick reference to their blogs of choice. Blog rolling is helpful also because you can put all your favorite blogs in your blogline and update your settings to show only updated posts in the blogs. That's nice and cuts down on wasted time revisiting someone else's blog only to find out they haven't updated it. Bummer. Us avid bloggers/blog readers can be so demanding. :-)

Everything is "self-selecting" and hopefully not guilt filled when it comes to sharing in the online blog community. Folks will comment if they want to and if they choose not to, that's their prerogative. Some online relationships come fast, and others it takes a while. In some cases, no relationship will come no matter how much you want it, and that's ok, too. It's like seeing that person you'd wish would just acknowledge your presence, and ask you to join in their circle, but they never even notice you. It's like that some times. Nothing to lose sleep over. It's called "Life".

The Whole World Can See You. Remember that your blog can be viewed by the entire world so use discretion in what you say and share. Especially personal info, job related stuff, and anything else that can be used against you in a court of law! If you want to be semi-anonymous, use an online name. Some folks only show pictures of their hair, and block their faces out, which is just fine. Employers/Job Recruiters can google you so make sure you are aware of what you say. Unfortunately there are some real mean folks out there and blogging is a very open and vulnerable venue in which a lot of "you" is shared with the masses. Just be aware and careful.

Watch out for Crazies, including yourself.
Unfortunately there will be some bloggers new to the scene who visit other's blogs just to start confusion. I've seen it before and thankfully have experienced it rarely in my blogs. They probably didn't read this blog post or researched on line about how to conduct yourself as a blogger who has blog nettiquite. If you stumble upon a blog that you don't like, do yourself a favor and #1 DO NOT comment on what you don't like, and #2 NEVER visit that blog again. For the most part, the bloggers won't know how you feel, and it's best to just keep it to yourself. Don't go visiting someone's blog to "check" them. Leave them alone. There have been some ugly "cyber cat fights" on line and it's just a shame and a hot mess. If you are a rabble rouser in public, then I'm sure you're gonna start mess on line. Some folks just like drama and have no problem seeking on line. Go back and look at your blog, and if it has more of a negative, complaining, antagonistic spirit about it, you must know that "out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth (blog) speaks". So watch out for Crazies, including yourself.

Maryee's last piece of advice. If you really want to document your journey on line for others to see, do it! If it's with conditions that you must have "relationships"/Comments to keep you motivated in doing it, then you must check your motives. If you want comments, simply invite those who visit your blog to do so...no pressure. One of the craziest things I've done is visit someone's blog and actually comment in my head but find I'm too tired/lazy to sign on to comment. I'm super busy and zip in and zip out without commenting sometimes. I then re-visit their blogs later and could have "sworn" I commented, but I didn't cause I did it in my head and not in their blog. That always weirds me out!

Why blog? Blog because it's therapeutic for you and you want to chart your growth in all areas of your life. Blog because you are a budding writer and want to hone your craft. Blog because you are tapping into your creative juices and getting real good at technology along the way. Blog because you really want to chart your hair journey. Blog because you want to meet some "like-minded" people on line world wide and need the support and inspiration. Blog to make new friends. Blog to let friends and family see your hair growth and pictures. What ever the case, blog because you want to have fun! But remember, blogging takes work and a bit of commitment. The nicest blogs didn't get that way overnight. Those bloggers "added" a new room to their house, called a "blog". And they've been working on it to make it just right to suit their tastes and all who visit their humble abode. Oh yeah, there's also a Myspace community of Sisterlockers and on FaceBook. Let the revolution begin!!!!!!! Happy Blogging!!!

For more tips on blogging for beginners, check out this link.

23 comments:

Goodnapps said...

What a beautiful write up of suggestions. I wouldn't normally bother but be sure to give me a visit - I tagged ya!

Creyole said...

Hey Maryee, nice blog post for new comers! I've been checking in on your blog to see if you answered the tag! Come on!

BTW, your hair is really looking nice and thick. So, are you not going to dye anymore?

Maryee said...

T,

I saw the tag! I'll need to work on that this week. Yours was very informative and interesting. Thanks for sharing!

Creyole,

My hair is all over the place. I took that pic about a week ago. Still trying to get my whole head retightened. I am still undecided about coloring it. Perhaps only after I combine my locks. We'll see. Also, I loved your tag response. So neat, learning more about each other.

Chosen Vessel said...

Nice way to lay it out....great information for new bloggers.

Cluizel said...

Oh no! I didn't know about the myspace community! Sigh...something else to do. :)

Brenda said...

Good advice and good analogy to "life" - it goes like that sometimes!

blackrussian said...

I'll say it. I'm the new blogger who contacted Maryee because I was just so impressed with her blog and those she has links to. The DFW Gatherings and other events are an amazing idea. Even those of you who are not in the same geographic area are still very close and supportive of one another and that really appealed to me.

Thanks so much for the tips!

BlaqKofi said...

Great advice Maryee and nicely done!

ja stu sister lock journey said...

I have been trying to blog but not doing too good at all but I decided to keep trying until i can master it.
Waiting to be sl in anothe 2-3 weeks, had sample locks put in on Feb.28,2007.

Maryee said...

Thanks ladies,

Hopefully this will help those folks new and be a gentle reminder to those who've been bloggin' for a while and didn't get straight on some "blogettiquite". :-)

Sis. RJQueen10 said...

Thank You for this post. I like the depth of information you provided.

Sis. RJQueen10

Maryee said...

You are quite welcome. I know it's only my opinion, but it think it may help those who are new to the community of blogging and want some suggestions on how to get going smoothly. Take care!

wendosa said...

This is fantastic. I am an newcomer and blackrussian already suggested that I contact you to join LHBE. Not sure if I figured out how to join and contact you but.... again, I am truly a newbie and not so savvy at all the tech stuff. I really appreciate all of your suggestions. I was already tripping a bit not seeing a lot of comments but... I truly just began this trip in Dec. I'll get it together.
Wendi
journey250.blogspot.com

Maryee said...

Glad the post helped you. As a newcomer, it can take a little while to build a community of online friends but they are out there. If there are gatherings in the area that helps you connect with others as well. Keep blogging! You're gonna learn lots just by visiting others' blogs. Blessings.

Charizma00 said...

Thank you for adding me to the exchange, It was just the motivation I needed. Now that I've read the proper blogging etiquette I'll be well on my way.

Maryee said...

Charizma00,

Glad this was helpful for you. Use what you can and disregard the rest. Blessings..

NIKIJOY said...

WOW! You answered every question I had, some I didn't even conceptualize beyond my confusion as to how to get started. Thank you thank you thank you!!! Your blog is wonderfully informative, pretty and I love the pictures.

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Breast Enlargement Surgeon said...

Yea. What all hair types your blogs cover besides Sister blocks?

Breast Enhancement said...

Great. And how can you straighten them back to your original hair?