105 Ways to Give a Book

Playing Nicely

Today I am happy to take part in an Unconventional Blog Tour as conceived by the master minds of Kelly Jensen and Liz Burns. Other bloggers will take you through the finer points of integrity, professionalism, accountability, intellectual property, and more. I will take you back to childhood, specifically the times your mother reminded you to "play nice."

I truly hope that generations continue to the enjoy the sandbox before it goes the way of the seesaw and merry-go-round of my youth. Because really, the group sandbox was the ultimate in play-based relationships before activities like Tiny Tutus and Pee-Wee Soccer steamrolled our unstructured play. It's the Wild West of the playground experience, and as such a fantastic metaphor for behavior on the Internet and perhaps some useful reminders.

Don't throw dirt.
Sand is just tidy, parent-sanctioned dirt. As such, it seems harmless to fling it around and watch it fly. But someone always ends up crying, and the sand-thrower always gets nailed. Similarly, in the blogosphere be cautious about where words get thrown. Being quick to react puts you in the middle of the story, but not always with all the information. Don't be so anxious to be part of it or so intense in your response that you toss words around that can hurt someone, and get you called out at the same time for being a bully.

Be friendly.
With the right attitude and a smile a new best friend or a chance to play with the multi-layed sand sifter is in your reach. Blogging is a solitary activity in the writing, but a group activity in the reading, connecting, and sharing information. Play your part in that aspect by commenting on other blogs. Who knows when you'll find a new best friend or a future presenting partner.

Don't take things that don't belong to you.
Whether you hope no one notices or that no one will say anything, when - and it's always when - they do, it's not pleasant for anyone. The taker feels bad, the take-ee is upset, and what could have been a fine time together is ruined because you didn't opt for the next choice.

Share and ask nicely.
The easier way to use someone else's toy is to share yourself and ask nicely. In blogging this would translate into transparency in sharing credit with appropriate links back to the original and asking to use content. When do you need to ask? Full or nearly full content is a definite, and that means photos, poems, and reviews. (More on this during the week.)

Don't hog all the good stuff.
Sometimes there are lots of things available for everyone, and that doesn't mean more for you. Where I see this most in book blogging is grabbing ARC's and taking extras at conferences. It seems acceptable in theory to want one copy for you and one to give away to readers, but it's bad form because it's unsustainable for everyone to do that. Be selective, not greedy.

Play with others.
The best thing about the group sandbox is the chance to create more than you can alone. Castles, roads, and towns form as everyone works together. Online communities offer the same opportunities to be part of something bigger by participating in tours, various round-ups, carnivals, challenges, and charity events. Even perhaps a combination challenge and fundraiser. And bonus, when you find yourself more connected to everyone it's easier and more intuitive to play nice.

For more advice and/or reminders, head to helping info on authors and bloggers at Chasing Ray and check back with the Unconventional Blog Tour through the week. If you have other suggestions for playing nicely, I'd love to hear them!

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which this site may receive a referral fee.


Liz B said...

One thing I think is really important to recognize: "playing nicely" is not the same as "be nice." Be nice is (like "haters going to hate") a method to shut down discussion and disagreement. "Playing nicely" (as you've nicely outlined!) is saying to treat one another with respect. We can have disagreements -- different positions -- without it going personal, without insulting the person rather than dissenting with the post/argument/position.

Kelly Jensen said...

I think you hit all of the biggies and did so, like Liz said, without suggesting that you have to "be nice." This is about being thoughtful and conscientious of your behavior and how it impacts the greater community.

melanie hope greenberg said...

Thanks for this post on how to be collegial and thoughtful. It extends beyond the blogging world to better marketing and social networking in general. Needy, greedy, grabby, cliquey become very obvious to me in the intuitive and visual realms of cyberspace. It's all about the approach. I'll continue to check out this interesting topic, I also read Chasing Ray's posting. Thanks for blogging about it.

Beth S. said...

I love this post and I love the idea of this blog tour! :)

Sarah said...

"With the right attitude and a smile a new best friend or a chance to play with the multi-layed sand sifter is in your reach. Blogging is a solitary activity in the writing, but a group activity in the reading, connecting, and sharing information. "

Yes, yes, yes! I have been involved in blogging for a long time (though I'm a newbie in the book world, I've blogged about crafting, sports and managed several business blogs as well teaching blogging at a local college), and I cannot say enough about what an opportunity being open to connections via blogging has been for me personally. I've been hired for freelance work, met several extremely close friends, found conference buddies and loads more.

Thanks for the fabulous post!

Robin Ingle said...

I agree with the other commenters here -- playing nicely is very different from "being nice". I hope I have the presence of mind to direct people here when I need to give that advice. :)

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...

Wonderful advice! And I think "play nicely" goes very well with the Book Smugglers' thoughts today on "integrity and independence," particularly integrity. I don't think one can act with integrity without playing nicely. For instance, we can't maintain our integrity as bloggers if we're using other people's content without attribution... something I'm working to improve in my own blogging, particularly when it comes to photos.

Michelle said...

These are really great tips, and I am so glad that you all decided to do this tour!

Doret said...

Sand is just tidy, parent-sanctioned dirt, love that.

Disagreements get bigger then they should sometimes because people forget how to play nicely in someone elses park.

If a blogger has a heated discussion with bloggers they know it can usually end well because they understand each other, so their words and intentions won't get misinterpreted.

But when bloggers have lively discussion outside of their circle that is when everything can go bad quickly.

Andromeda Jazmon said...

You have given us a great set of guidelines for what makes this community so wonderful. My favorite: "The best thing about the group sandbox is the chance to create more than you can alone. Castles, roads, and towns form as everyone works together."

Susan Robinson said...

Thank you for your post. I am new to the blogging world and any information on etiquette is helpful.

Mandy (The Well-Read Wife) said...

Well said! Love this post and the whole idea of this tour.:)

Gaynor said...

That's a nice post. I've recently been a victim of incredible rudeness on Facebook and we all (not only kids) need to be reminded to have manners. BTW. In Africa, children still play on seesaws and merry gorounds, as you'll see in my client Damaria Senne's children's books.