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Friday, February 18, 2011

Hard Core Blog Advice

You live and learn. When your trust is broken, it's time to make some smart blog choices. I have a few tips I feel are very beneficial and I speak from first hand experience. It's happened to me a few times now and perhaps I'm the one who is to give the hard core advice..since I have lived through it more than enough. There are bound to be flare ups on the net. We see them all the time. A few things you may want to know about me before I continue.

I don't just read blogs. I study the blogosphere. I watch who interacts with each other on Twitter, Facebook, and comment sections. I can see who is teaming up on projects, who departs from one another, and I just happen to have some weird knack for sensing when people are not themselves. Yes, just by a few little things they say on Twitter. I don't know..maybe it's some kind of strange blog superpower. So why haven't I been able to harness it into avoiding partnerships with people who betray me? Sigh** We live and learn. It's called Failing Forward, John C Maxwell wrote about it. My husband raves about his book. So we fail, but don't fail and plummet into an abyss of defeat. Fail forward and grow from it.

Google Them. Dealing with people online is a bit different than dealing with them in person. In the blogosphere you can quickly find out who a person has been affiliated with before by using Google. I don't think it's wrong to Google someone who wants to partner with you. I actually highly recommend it. A blogger who is honest won't mind you asking about their former affiliations. 

Ask for references. Ask who they have partnered with in the past and let them know you'd like to contact those people about their partnership. Don't just take their word for it when it comes to a reference.

I saw a woman comment one day that she has written reviews for brands before. I went right over to her blog where she had in plain view on her blog that she has written reviews for Disney Films, and a slew of other huge brands. (She even use their logos on her posts) I used her search bar to find the reviews and what I found was astonishing. She had not REALLY "worked" with those brands. She simply wrote her own reviews of their products, and not very good ones I might add. There would be no way I would ever pay her for such low quality work. Why would Disney? She had about 500 Google Friends on her Connect widget so I Googled her. She had participated in some "get followers quick" project and then proceeded to use that count along with her so-called 'brand" portfolio to demand inflated prices for the simplest things right down to tweeting for companies.

And bloggers wonder why companies don't fork out more dough to buy advertising with them.

Butter. Yes, I said butter. These are the people who butter you up. They lather on the "I worship you" mentality. Too much praise is overkill. If you are approached by someone who begins to butter you up, offer to do tons of things for you, practically begs for you to trust them, use caution. In my counseling experience I can tell you that one of the first things you'll notice about a cult is their over kill on praise and instant friendships. The person doesn't know you! Why are they acting like your best friend? Hold back. Don't be quick to be "so happy to have them help". 

Use a Contract. I never thought I'd suggest this for just a simple team effort between bloggers, but I really do think it's a must. If you want to run your blog like a business, you need contracts. Even if it's a volunteer effort to build a group blog, I'd ask for your team members to agree to a contract. Did you know there are laws protecting volunteers now? Those laws aren't just to protect the volunteers, but also the organization coordinating their efforts. A contract can be simple, no need to be formal, just a clean cut agreement to not share the group's plans or ideas with anyone. Save it as a pdf, send it and get it back with a date and signature.

Passwords. Keep passwords confidential. If you need to give a password to someone for admin purposes be sure their access to the behind the scenes is limited. If the partnership is broken, change your passwords immediately. Why would someone you barely know be asking for passwords?

Trust doesn't come easy. Don't be so quick to trust someone. Don't allow yourself to be quicker to trust someone of your own religious affiliation either. For some reason when you do that, it makes the heartbreak so much worse for you. Just because someone shares the same religion as you doesn't mean you give up your trust so easily. Be cautious of new connections telling you that you CAN trust them. A few identifiers I have seen in common online and in counseling people who come from abusive situations are the "poor me" stories. If they can get you to feel sorry for them, they share something in "confidence" with you, ask you not to tell others, then something is most likely up. Start sharing secrets and they have a weapon to use on their behalf later to keep you quiet once they betray you. Yes, this happens!

Openly admit your mistakes. When you know you have betrayed someone, it's best to make amends immediately. Learn from your mistakes and make it public. Otherwise it might be made public for you when you're caught. Go to the person you betrayed and apologize. Apologize to your readers and begin anew. But do NOT attempt to cover up your tracks. Let your own fall help someone else. Then begin anew. If in the future, someone wants to Google you, be honest right away. Direct them to your public apology and let them know how long and hard you've been working to rebuild. Everyone can get a second chance, as long as you've been honest about it. Sweep it under the rug and your rug will get lifted eventually. It won't be a pretty sight.

Discretion. It is always best to try and handle things with discretion, but sometimes people work on the sly and try to get away with what they're doing. If there is public record of some of their comments that incriminate them and prove your case then save all links, screenshot all conversations, and protect yourself. If you see this person beginning to betray more people, you may want to offer the other victims some insight and help, just be sure to use discretion.

Blog Ethics. The blogosphere is a whole different type of social situation. Bad news and rumors spread like wild fire and it must be nipped in the bud immediately. People can disagree all they want about breast feeding, religion, or immunizations. Those kinds of discussions can get rather heated, but when it comes to violating trust in an effort to build up your blogs, it becomes a business situation. If the blogger is clearly showing no effort at all to use ethics, dignity, or integrity at all, it's time to get proactive to protect your blog. Watch this great video about Blog With Integrity and take the pledge today.

Trust your gut! You have that inner voice that says, "watch out for this one, something doesn't seem right" Listen to that voice!

Do you have any additional thoughts to share?

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11 kind words:

Christin February 18, 2011 at 10:14 AM  

Sounds like you have the gift of discernment. I know exactly what you mean about suspicions. Before I was a blogger, I owned an MSN group. We had several ladies there who were "found out" and exposed as not being who they claimed to be. It was not fun. *sigh* We even had our group locked to keep it "safe". It's a bit easier to hide on the internet. That doesn't mean a person won't be found it...it may just take a little longer.

Sonita February 18, 2011 at 10:29 AM  

WE use social media and we're all moms and we think it's like a big country club for mommy bloggers, but if you're trying to make money and trying to build a business, then you're right, you should treat it a such.

Good advice in this post Lisa, very good advice.

Also, a tip for your readers who may not know-if you have a self-hosted WP blog-you don't have to give out your password-you can set up an administrator account for someone else to have access to your blog, then you can change their status if ever need be.

Sandra February 18, 2011 at 11:15 AM  

Thanks for this. I signed the pledge and added the badge.

Stef February 18, 2011 at 1:01 PM  

LOVE this !! Thank you for bringing this to other women's attention that some do not have honest and pure motives. They hope from one thing to the next trying to become famous in their own minds and are ready to toss you under a bus and squash you in an instant. They have no original ideas of their own, take what you have, and then you have to deal with them everywhere after that watching them infect other friendships - and eventually being a huge drain on other people as well. Definitely be weary of the smooth talking - flattering woman -- Romans 16:18

Sisterlisa February 18, 2011 at 1:39 PM  

Stef,
I figured I should be writing a huge series on what NOT to do as a blogger. lol I have a few more posts coming this weekend on this topic.

Stef February 18, 2011 at 7:53 PM  

I would read that series - because even as much as I have to point out what others do - harboring disgust hurts me too.

Heather February 19, 2011 at 9:50 AM  

Thank you for posting this. I have been blogging for about 10 months now and I read everything that anyone posts on blogging so that I don't get screwed. I don't trust everyone, they have to earn my trust. I am your newest follower, I just started following you yesterday!

Sisterlisa February 19, 2011 at 11:38 AM  

Thanks, Heather. If you link in here, I can follow you back in the areas you're following me :)

Sisterlisa February 19, 2011 at 11:38 AM  

Christin, I would love to brainstorm with you about some of these things. Lets chat soon.

Sisterlisa February 23, 2011 at 10:20 AM  

Stef, I have had my fair share of hurts from the blogosphere. I think we all end up getting hurt at one time or another. As informative as blog ethics articles are, sometimes it makes me so frustrated when people who KNOW the 'rules of play' in blogland, keep violating everyone's trust. It'll catch up to them. And I try to keep in mind, grace. When people finally fall and look up for help with humility, extend grace. :)

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