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Comments, Categories, and Social Media — Oh My!

by Kim on March 4, 2010 · 14 comments

I’m combining three of blog-business posts into one with this, because I don’t like it when my blog gets overrun with posts not actually about books.  This week, Weekly Geeks wanted to look at commenting, a topic I think is really important to think about as a blogger. The task for the Blog Improvement Project is to look into categories and tags — two administrative tools that help keep blogs organized and can help search engines find you blog. And finally, a few bloggers (My Friend Amy, Beth Fish Reads, others?) posted social media policies yesterday, which inspired me to do the same.

Commenting

wg-relaxingFor pretty much the best post on commenting I’ve read in a long time, you should check out this post by Care at Care’s Online Book Club. She pretty much lays out everything I think about commenting, but in a much more entertaining way than I probably will. In a nutshell, here’s how I think about comments here at Sophisticated Dorkiness:

  • I try to respond to all comments here on the blog post. I do that because I like future readers to be able to see the thread of conversation. If a comment needs more than that, or I’m not sure the commenter will check back, I try to respond via e-mail or by leaving a comment on that blog.
  • Sometimes I’m slow responding to comments (read, a day or two after the post). I probably won’t change that, I just wanted you to be aware :)
  • I am going to try to be better visiting blogs of people who stop by to leave comments. That’s not something I’ve done in the past, but I want to get better about it.
  • I don’t normally delete comments, but reserve the right to do so if they’re rude to me or other readers. I can take criticism, but let’s keep it civil.

That’s about the extent of it. I really, really appreciate every single comment I receive and try to reciprocate the general warm fuzzy feeling of comments to other people.

What are some of your philosophies on commenting? Anything important I’m forgetting?

Categories and Tags

2010BIP 150x210This post is an anomaly in that I put it in three categories. Normally that’s not a great idea, but there are always exceptions. I have a pretty long list of categories which include:

  • Authors: For posts specifically about an author or their life.
  • Book Review: Self explanatory, right?
  • Challenges: This has three sub-categories — 2009 BIP, Blog Improvement Project, and Women Unbound. I don’t join many challenges, so this category is small.
  • Communities: This has four sub-categories all for that get used pretty frequently since I’m a big believer in community activities.
  • J-School: For posts specifically related to journalism school notes. I won’t be using this one much in a few months when I graduate (eek!!!)
  • Journalism: For thoughts on journalism issues more generally, a category I want to use more soon.
  • Metadiscourse: This is my favorite category. It’s just a fancy word for posts about this blog or blogging.
  • Musings: Random stuff I’m thinking about.
  • Narrative Nonfiction 5: My new feature!
  • News and Notes: Info about news happening about books or other events.

So far, these categories have been working pretty well for me. This week I plan to write up some good descriptions of these categories and create a page for them, since some of them might not be self-explanatory.

Tagging is something I’ve never been very good at. I have a small list of tags I usually use, but after reading some of the links from the BIP post this week I think it’s important to use more tags rather than less. I’m going to start making sure to include tags for authors, genres, and other nouns relevant to the posts.

My Social Media Policy

This section is about how I generally use various social media across the web. This policy is evolving and changing and I’m always looking for ways to do it better. Suggestions are always, always welcome.

Blog: As stated above, I try to respond to all comments and visit bloggers that comment. I try to comment on as many blogs as I can, but, like everyone, I read way more blogs than I have time to comment on. That sucks, but it’s the truth.

E-mail: To the best of my ability, I answer all e-mails directly to me that from other bloggers that ask questions or give feedback. I don’t respond to book pitches for books that I’m not interested in because I think it’s a waste of time for both parties. Please don’t take that personally, it’s just easier.

Facebook: My Facebook account is, generally, for my in real life friends and family. I do very little bookish publicity or discussion there. I also don’t go out of my way to friend people, but feel free to find me if you want to read status updates about my cat, The Office, or links to awesome xkcd comics.

Twitter: I don’t follow everyone because, frankly, I get a lot of weird followers. I do try to respond to any @ replies and conversations. Please join in!

Ning/Goodreads: I’m on both Ning and GoodReads, although I’m not very active. Feel free to find me there if you choose.

Thoughts or impressions of any of the above bloggy-business things? Let me know in the comments (to which I will respond, I promise!)

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Eva March 4, 2010 at 6:12 pm

A few months ago, I started visiting all of the blogs of people who left comments & commenting on a post of theirs in return. I did this during my ‘blog reading’ time, and I didn’t open my google reader until I’d visited all commentators. I really like it, because it makes commenting relationships spring up much more quickly!

Reply

Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Eva: That’s a good plan. I just tried it with a recent post and liked it. Too bad my Google Reader is overflowing today too!

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Rebecca Reid March 4, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I try to visit the people who comment on mine too. Sometimes it’s harder though, because it takes longer to go to the site, and they don’t always have a post that interests me. I only comment on things that interest me, which makes me not as social as others, I suspect. I hope we all know we’re all doing our best. I read even when I don’t comment, though!

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Rebecca: I really only comment when I’m interested too. I don’t like leaving the “Great post!” comments, so actually leaving them tends to take me a little while. Oh well, it’s a balance we all tend to work through.

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Jackie (Farm Lane Books) March 5, 2010 at 6:55 am

I think I need to come up with a social media policy. I have a facebook problem at the moment. I don’t ever mention books on my facebook page. It is limited to my ‘real life’ friends and family. Recently I have had a few bloggers request friendship, but I really don’t want to start talking about books over there. I can’t decide whether to start a new farmlanebooks facebook page or just ignore bloggers on facebook.

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:33 pm

Jackie: I won’t use FB for book blogging, it’s just not how I’ve used it in the past. If book bloggers want more details about real life, then I suppose that’s fine with me. I just wanted the social media policy in place in case there was some miscommunication about expectations.

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Care March 5, 2010 at 7:35 am

I try to keep Facebook for friends and family, too, but book clubbers are there so I do get overlap. Twitter is almost exclusively bookish. I can’t help but think of that Shakespearean ditty that I probably don’t quite have correct, but “AH! What tangled webs we weave!”
:)
And I love how organized your categories are…

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:34 pm

Care: Ha ha, no kidding. It’s all tangled up! I like to think the categories are ok, but sometimes I’m not sure. And the term “metadiscourse” doesn’t really mean anything, except that I think it’s an awesome word :)

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Fyrefly March 5, 2010 at 7:54 am

I keep my categories pretty limited, since the list of them shows up in my sidebar. Every book review goes into a star-rating category and at least one genre category, so that a hypothetical visitor could say “oh, I wonder what books Nicki has really loved” or “what science fiction has she reviewed” and have a list be one click away. There’s also a “Note” category for non-review posts that has subcategories similar to yours… TSS, read-a-thon, etc.

I use tags for author names, audiobook reader names, and series names – things specific enough that I don’t want them all cluttering up my sidebar, but that I’d want to be able to click on a link to get a listing of all of the Fables volumes I’d reviewed, for example.

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:35 pm

Fyrefly: I’ve always loved your categories. I wish I’d started doing star categories, but the prospect of going back through and adding books to categories overwhelms me. I should start adding the stuff you suggest to tags, mine are sort of a mess right now.

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Jeanne March 5, 2010 at 1:03 pm

I admire anyone who comes up with a policy about social media to keep online activity from eating up too much of their time. We don’t all have to be friends in all the possible ways!

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Jeanne: I wish a policy helped solve that problem, but I doubt that it does. I do think it’s good to unplug and set boundaries though, even though technology seems to make that harder and harder.

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Lisa March 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm

You’ve inspired me to sit down and really think about what I want to do about this stuff.

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Kim March 9, 2010 at 1:36 pm

Lisa: That’s great, good luck!

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