How to write a comment on the Internet (It’s “Online Commenting Etiquette 101″)


By web gangsta | Published:

Commenting (whether it be on a blog, a Facebook page, or via Tweet) is a fine art.

Some people get it right, and are effective in rallying other readers behind their cause.  Others are looked at as Internet trolls, people who have absolutely nothing to add to the conversation.

Look, it’s really easy — we get it, the Internet is an anonymous cesspool of interaction, allowing anyone with a screen and a keyboard to shout out whatever they feel like, at any time they’d like.  The First Amendment does protect those folks in saying whatever they want, but the First Amendment doesn’t guarantee that they can say it wherever they can.  That’s why the DELETE and BAN buttons were invented.

The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video, and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly
The New Rules of Marketing and PR:
How to Use Social Media, Blogs, News Releases, Online Video,
and Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly

So what are some COMMENTING RULES OF THE ROAD that you should follow, to ensure that your online commentary is viewed as constructive, rather than offensive or spammy?

Here are some of the 10 tips that you may want to follow, no matter where you are making your comment.  Click the above link for the details on why each item is on the list:

  • Do you really have anything to say?
  • Is your comment going to be on the topic at hand?
  • Is your comment going to STAY on topic?
  • If you are going to become argumentative, do you actually have a point to make with your discussion?
  • Is what you’re saying supported by fact, or are you just making crap up?
  • Are you being fair and balanced, or just going on a commenting attack?
  • Don’t be an asshole
  • Are you trying to have a conversation, or stop all other commenters in their tracks?
  • Do you know when to stop?

That last one is important.  So many commenters out there don’t know when they should just shut up.  Look, the horse is dead – there’s no need to beat it any further.  We get it… and we’ve already moved on.  So should you.

Twitter has some slightly different rules, but the overall philosophy is the same.  Here are some tips specifically for Twitter:

  • Stop repeating yourself.  You’ll only piss off your followers who have to read each one of your insipid repeated jokes.
  • RTs without a constructive comment can be viewed as meaningless – especially if the RT is on a topic that many of your followers would already be aware of.  Use RTs to bring new voices to your Twitter feed, not to act as a spambot.
  • Look at your feed – if it is only filled with RTs and @ replies, then you’re not doing any favors to your own followers.  Speak with your own voice, not someone else’s.
  • Think about WHY you have a Twitter feed in the first place, and use that reasoning to determine the type of Tweets you should make.  If your Twitter feed is for marketing/promotional purposes rather than as a personal space, then be sure you’re pointing followers to whatever it is you’re marketing or promoting.

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