01/02/13 476 W - + 2 - 4 Mike's Blog Tips

Taking a cue from a discussion on this thread about last week's fire, here a handful of tips on how to be a better blog participant. These also apply to any online forum, as well as Facebook. Use 'em when composing status updates or responses to status updates.

Tip #1 - Compose yourself elsewhere. Open a text editor program, or Microsoft Word. Use that program to create your comment, then copy and paste into the blog window, or web form, or what have you. You'll get the benefit of any built-in spell checker. You'll have a bigger canvas for writing, e.g. a larger screen. That larger screen-- bigger window-- will help you with, say, carriage returns. You'll recognize if you've written any long or unwieldy blocks of text. (And if the blog screen times out, or something doesn't "take" when click SUBMIT, you've still got a copy of your original words.)

Tip #2 - If you change your mind, act accordingly. It's doggone easy to click, type, post and within the space of a few seconds. Blink and you've added two cents on blog or board or Facebook. But if you have second thoughts-- minutes or hours or days later-- there's no shame (in my opinion) of altering your course. If it's your board-- or you're on Facebook-- you can delete your comment or original posting. (If it's received a lot of traffic or responses, it might be a glaring "undo." But you do what you have to do.) If you've posted a comment on this blog, and you have second thoughts, you have a couple options. First, you can mail me and say "hey, thinking about it more, can you delete my comment?" Or post a second time, with a clarification, a retraction, an apology, an explanation, etc.

Tip #3 - Take it seriously, but not too seriously. Maybe that should be reversed, since a sense of humor-- and/or a sense of perspective-- is paramount to effective communication and relation with other humans. But at the same time, treat your words and what you say as an extension of yourself and your thinking. And without you as a physical participant-- without body language or facial expressions or voice tone-- the words are all we'll have to go on. And if you're anonymous, the burden of clarity is even greater. The reader won't have a "person" in their mind, to add context or experience to the words you've written.

Tip #4 - When talking with firefighters online, expect them to talk like, well, firefighters. For better or worse, blogs and boards and Facebook conversations can resemble a virtual day room. Just be cautious if there are "women or children" virtually passing by, for a station tour or what have you.

What tips would you add?

If you don’t feel like following #1 by composing in a separate program, AT LEAST use a modern web browser that includes a built-in spell-check feature. It won’t catch grammatical errors, but it will keep you from discussing “cheifs”, “nozles”, etc.
Lt. Lemon (Email) (Web Site) - 01/02/13 - 09:19

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