Blogger Etiquette

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy happy Sunday everyone ! So it's Sunday Night Football here at the Lepage house and the awesome girlfriend that I am kindly accepted to tag along and watch the Philly-Dallas game with my man who keeps screaming at every single player, probably actually thinking they can hear him ;) I don't mind watching sports on TV with Karl because he's so obsessed with it, he barely even notices that I'm multi-tasking my way around, yet, a new blog post before heading to bed. Plus, I get to catch the highlights of each game and then, actually have something to say whenever we hang out with his buddies. Seriously ladies, an easy and surprisingly fun way to score some extra points with the mates !

But let's not get carried away, what I actually wanted to write about tonight was a topic I've been meaning to address for a little while now but wanted to gather my thoughts properly first. Ever heard of social etiquette ? Every sphere of society has one and the blogging world is no exception ! Now, I feel like the 'Blogger Etiquette' might be a tad of a sensitive subject because, well let's say it, it's mainly a girl's world. And God knows how much a bunch of girls put all together in one tiny industry can get all feisty, one with each other. Praise the Lord there's actually a fair amount of guys in the whole bound, otherwise, there would probably have been a digital World War III by now ;) On a more serious note, if you wanna become a blogger of any kind, there's probably a few things you should go over before jumping headlong into it. Please keep in mind that these are personal thoughts on how I see the blogging industry from my own perspective and that I am not pretending to know every single thing on that matter. These are simply advice and guidance I based my own experience on or that I have learned about along the way !

Be yourself
First and foremost, blogging is about sharing a little bit (or a lot!) about yourself on the web. People are eager for real thoughts, real experiences and real stories. They want to read about someone that could just be their next door neighbor, that girl from the grocery store, this guy who got out at the same bus stop… They want to be able to relate to the real you ! This may be someone you've partially or completely have made up but at the end of the day, all of the credit, good comments and gratification you'll get for it, won't actually be directed towards you; it'll be directed towards this different version of yourself you've created. I don't know about you but I bet this isn't the best of feelings, right ?

Stay humble
So you've been writing for a little while and people have been responsive to your thoughts and shares. Good for you ! Having people actually read your stuff daily and connect with you is probably the most rewarding feeling a writer/blogger/digital influencer could ever experience but one should never take this for granted. I'm not saying you should sell yourself short but definitely try to have some reservations when discussing your personal success. I personally like to keep my feet on the ground by always taking the time to think about and remember how I started. How it all started ! From the couch of the tiny apartment I shared with three other girls back then at Ottawa U, writing about vintage combat boots and deep red blazers à la Kate Moss ;) Try to focus on what you've overcome with time and what are your next goals, and never feel like you've become IT. There is no such thing as IT, try Alexa Chung, she 'll tell you herself !

Work hard
Back when I was a student at the National Ballet School, I remember having this ballet master I absolutely adored reminding me all the time that I should always work harder than the day I've worked the hardest. This pretty much applies to every single aspect of my life now. I try to put a lot of effort and energy in everything I undertake wether it is school, work, writing or even my personal relationships. And this serves me well ! I think this is one of the few things people don't expect from bloggers and influencers; we must work hard to get what we want. This isn't an easy-way-in industry, you have to put in time and devotion, start at the bottom and work your way up, pay your dues. But isn't this what makes it all worth it at the end ? To be able to look back and see all of the great things you've learned about and realized from your own potential and will. For my part, some of my best memories come from the possibilities and opportunities I've unlocked because someone had seen my work before, enjoyed it and recommended it. Warms up my little heart just to think about it !

Be kind
I believe one should be kind at all times. In every type of situation, if you don't appreciate something, leave at that. Leave it alone ! There's absolutely no need to create unnecessary drama among your peers, especially if you're looking to make connections and to network with your social environment. Remember that in the blogging world, this social environment is your work environment ! You wouldn't expect people to b**** around and talk behind each other's back in a chemical lab center or in the surgery department of a city hospital, right ? So why us, bloggers, should behave that way and lower ourselves to a shameful level of anti-socialism ?! From my personal experience, I can tell you that I have negatively talked about a few other bloggers and where did that get me ? Absolutely nowhere. I lost a fair amount of my own time and energy blabbing about stuff that didn't even served me in the first place. Now that I have mediated on it, I feel just plain immature and since I've realized that, I opted for a better way to interact with people. A positive way ! Plus, as many of you may know, I grew up and got educated in an all-girl boarding school up on the mountain and I can assure you that I have had my share of dramatic quibbles and unnecessary stress ;) I will certainly not tolerate this in my professional environment not that I've gone through it just fine !

Share your resources
Back when I first started PBTH (formerly Petite Brunette en Talons Hauts!), I had a girlfriend from school who launched her own personal blog not too long after, along with one of her friends. We then started to attend the same press events and I remember she said to me: "Chloe you know, we should stick together ! Share our contacts and key information". I totally agreed with her ! I mean, it could only benefit both of us, right ? So every single time I had something worth sharing, I did and never really asked anything in return because simply never needed to. Today, I'm pretty sure I would send her an email asking for a PR contact or brand info and she would just ignore it… Another blogger I was once really good friends with has asked me countless times for my help, wether it was for efficient and optimal ways to approach brands, for professional advice on her website, for PR agencies contact information… Once, I asked her for someone's email I had lost and needed to speak with urgently for an upcoming work opportunity. She was too busy and never found the time to send it along… 

My point here is that, now that I know all this, would I help out these former blogger-girlfriends of mine when they'd need it ? Yes, of course ! Remember there is never a single thing to lose by helping out others. You can only benefit from it, wether it's a better karma(!), or simply that when the timing will be right, you'll get credit for it, wether it's from them or from life. Don't worry about this stuff and don't let the fear of allowing someone to do business with the same people as you ruin you spirit. They're already doing business with you for a reason so don't lose that shine !

Don't try to compete
This point actually goes pretty well along with the previous; share your resources and therefore, eliminate competition from your blogging/business strategies. Writers, bloggers and influencers who think this is a competitive world and that you have to step on other people to get what you want simply are wrong. And so not on the right path to success ! For starters, you should only care about your work and not about what others are doing. I have had people criticizing my work and hating their guts out on me via email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram… When this happens, the only think I can think of (as some sort of an answer to their childishness) is HOW MUCH time they are loosing thinking about me while they could be focusing on creating new opportunities for themselves. While someone is stating on his/her wall how I lie about traveling a lot and working with cutting-edge brands, I'm casually securing my way into Topshop UNIQUE's runway show in London ;) Not bragging here, simply laying it all out, just as it is.

Another important fact about competition, in a world as big and moving as fast as the blogging world, there is actually no such thing as competition. Even if you're coming from a small industry like myself. It all started here in Montreal for me and when I first started, my only wish was that I could be living in some big-shot cities like New York and Paris. Well, three years later, my blog is bringing me to work from incredible spaces and places all around the world. But I can always come back to Montreal to regain my strength and brainstorm about some new creative ideas ! And this is really what it's all about anyways, creating opportunities. They're countless and there's definitely enough for everybody so let's all agree to share, shall we ?

Dare to be different
Another tricky subject to this 'Blogger Etiquette' article is the lack of creativity we can experience from time to time, as writers. I personally spend days writing down new totally awesome ideas and then, won't think of one innovative thing for a whole week. It comes and goes, that's just how it is ! But there is really no need to take other people's work without crediting them for it or worst, making it look like it's your own. A little while ago, actually not too long ago from now, I had downloaded a really pretty picture from Pinterest and decided to add it to one of my stories so it would be eye-catching. Not even an hour later, the blogger to whom this picture belonged wrote me an email basically letting me know that she didn't approve of me taking up her work without giving her credits, which is perfectly legit ! Thing is (and I explained that to her and everything went back to normal!), my intention wasn't to steal her work but still, I had. By simply uploading a picture on my blog without even bothering searching for the original credits, I had stolen somebody's efforts and energy. So here is the thing, not only you should always credit people for their work but also, if the origins of a picture or work is ambiguous, you must make the effort to look it up and search for it. Its owner will be infinitely thankful for it !

That being said, I'd like to give out another tip regarding plagiarism; accusing someone of stealing your work, whenever it's not done in an obvious way (like my little Pinterest-blogger-picture story!) can be a little tricky because at some point, we're all working in the same industry. It isn't uncommon to fine two or even more bloggers having the same thoughts and opinion about something, or writing down similar stuff. It's also not uncommon to find multiple people with the same or similar creative minds. Being different is awesome but at some point, your differences are other people's similarities !

Have fun !
Last but not least, you should always have fun doing what you do, wether you are pursuing a professional career in writing or simply blogging for the pleasure of sharing and exchanging thoughts. Writing is a beautiful gift and I don't know what I would do if it wasn't a part of my life. If this is something you'd like to give a try to, I totally encourage you to do so ! If these few advice guided you through it, please feel free to share your thoughts with me via comments or emails. I'm always only a few clicks away ;)

The post Blogger Etiquette appeared first on PBTH **

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