Enough with the technical details – let’s talk manners.
Give People Credit and Links
If you hear about something from somebody else, credit ’em. The internet is huge, SQL Server is huge, and we all get help to find the stuff we need to do our jobs every day. We find stuff through other people, and it helps to credit those people.
Link their name to their blog and/or Twitter account. If I’m talking about something that Tom LaRock came up with, I won’t just leave “Tom LaRock” without a hyperlink – I’ll write it like this: Tom LaRock of SQLBatman.com, aka SQLBatman on Twitter. If you find my blog interesting, and I find somebody else interesting, then you’ll probably find them interesting too – so keep those hyperlinks coming.
Ask Before You Use Real Names.
I deal with a lot of questions about how SQL Server works, how to improve performance on a server, how to improve a product, and so on. Ideally, I’d blog about all of them, but sometimes people don’t want me to mention their questions or name names. Before you say, “John Smith emailed me asking how to kill a process in a database,” ask them if it’s okay to use their name in the post. If not, just post a general blog article about how to kill a process.
Hint – here’s how to make that easier. When someone asks me a technical question, I like to kill two birds with one stone by writing the email reply knowing ahead of time that I’m going to copy/paste it straight into my blog.
Think Before You Trash Talk a Product
This week, I threw Windows Home Server to the mat and body-slammed it, comparing it to the Ford Pinto. If the Microsoft Windows Home Server team decided they wanted to hire me later, and searched my site, they’d probably recoil in horror. Granted, I never want to work for the Windows Home Server team – nothing against that product, it’s just not a career goal I’d want to check off. But that’s not all – that team might include somebody whose career will intersect with mine. Or maybe somebody influential out there like Donald Farmer is madly in love with Windows Home Server, and he’ll never treat me with kindness again.
It’s a small world.
Take me, for example – a little over a year ago, I was having all kinds of problems with Idera SQLsafe. I wrote up an Idera SQLsafe review, and I started it off by saying, “I hate badmouthing a product on the internet because it’s permanent.” A few months later, when I was in the job market, I ended up interviewing at Quest (one of Idera’s competitors), and Billy Bosworth specifically mentioned the Idera article. He said he’d been impressed by how balanced it was, and that I’d clearly thought through it – that I wasn’t just writing, “So-and-so-sucks-butt-wind.” If I’d have written a slam-the-product article, I bet I wouldn’t have gotten the job I have today.
Don’t Disable Comments on Your Blog
John Gruber of Daring Fireball does this and gets away with it by saying that everybody who reads his blog is only there to read his thoughts, not the thoughts of other readers. He wants people to go to his site and absorb every single word on every page, and not get distracted by somebody else.
If you’re just getting started blogging, don’t try that. You come off like an asshole who isn’t interested in reader feedback or opinions. (God, I love blogging for myself, because I can use words like asshole.)
Some browsers have spell check built in, but if you’re not using one of those, copy/paste your blog entry into Microsoft Word before you post it. Look for little squiggly lines under the words, and fix those. It’ll look much more professional.
I know bloggers whose blog posts are completely correct – perfect spelling, good grammar, correct capitalization – but their emails make me think of Mr. Period at Penny Arcade. That’s totally okay – as long as your blog posts are at least relatively period-populated, you’re good to go. We’ll work on your emails in another series of blog posts.
And that’s a wrap!
Get out of here and go write a blog.