ANSWER YOUR EMAIL!

I’ve  given up email. Well, almost. At the weekend I set up one of those auto-reply  messages, informing my correspondents that I would no longer be checking my  emails, and that instead they might like to call or write, as we used to in the  olden days. (Tom Hodgkinson)

I hope that this title speaks for itself, but just in case it doesn’t: this post is about the most important etiquette involved in emails–ANSWERING THEM!

We’re busy; we have so many accounts and alerts; we’re always plugged in. I understand this. I’m busy, too. I have memorized a plethora of passwords for social media accounts as well as three different email addresses.

email rant pic

This is no excuse for not answering emails from friends, family, and colleagues. You don’t have to answer them right away (although, within 24 hours is polite), but you should at least acknowledge them. Even just quick reply stating you received the email and will take the time to reply when it is convenient. I also know a few people who list the times of day they are likely to reply to emails in their signatures. Any kind of acknowledgement is acceptable.

This seems more like a rant than a real post, but I do think that this is really important for keeping your email relationships healthy. I always wonder if people receive my emails and, after a day, I usually send a follow-up. I’m not trying to be annoying, but I do need a response. At the very least I need to know that my email was received by the right person. I don’t want to bug the people I’m emailing, I don’t, but when I email a teacher or colleague, there is usually an important reason. Otherwise, I would wait and talk to them the next time I see him or her.

My mom always says (I sound like Forest Gump, right?) that you wouldn’t leave your snail mail unopened so why would you leave you email unopened (or unanswered)? The comparison is pretty eye-opening. Email is communication. Communication is not a one-way street. Don’t disrespect your emailers (not a word, I know) by leaving them to communicate by themselves; that’s just rude.

Sorry to be disjointed, but this is a real pet peeve of mine.

As always, I encourage you to comment with your pet peeves–I’ll even blog about it!

Stay classy (and answer your emails),

Kassieboo

Works Cited:

Picture from inchoo.net. (I came across it in a Google search)

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Journal 6

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. (Walt Disney)

Trying Some New Things

Over the last two weeks or so, I’ve been trying some new types of things with my blog and I think that they are a success. I think that by doing them continuously that there will be an increase to my blog’s traffic as well as more readers who choose to follow.

Linking to Social Media

While I’ve had my Twitter account attached to my blog for a few weeks now, it hasn’t really made a difference in blog traffic. I think this is because I don’t use my Twitter as religiously as some people and my followers are mostly friends from high school and the like–they are not necessarily the people who will be most interested in manners and etiquette.

This past week, I tried putting a link to this blog in my Facebook status and saw a small increase in followers and visits. This is great! And I think it will be even greater when I link to larger and more interesting post. Part of this experiment was working up the courage to share my personal (non-academic) writing with my friends and family. Even though I’m an English major and do A LOT of writing, it is still hard to allow people whose opinions matter to me to read my writing. I do think that it will benefit both me and my blog to do this more often, though. For personal blogs, social media seems to be a very good way to advertise.

Including a Larger Variety of Media

Over the past week, I have tried playing around with the types of posts that I include in my blog. Previously, I focused mostly on writing funny, smart posts with lots of information. After reading a few critiques of my classmates’ blogs, however, I have found that many bloggers and readers prefer a mix of media where possible so as to break up large chunks of content. Personally, I don’t mind reading a large block of text as long as the writing is high-quality, but, at this point, I also need to value the ability to drive a lot of traffic to my blog. If pictures and videos help, then I will try to include these popular media.

I included a comic from The Oatmeal as well as a video called “The Science of Happiness” to which I was referred by a friend. My hits didn’t rise much from these posts, but I think that I should still work with these ideas. I plan to focus on learning how to incorporate more media smoothly and with a point rather than for the sake of including videos and pictures.

Adding More Tags to Each Post

This is really a “no-brainer”. The more tags a post has, the higher chance of it being found by people using search engines. I’ve been trying to use tags that refer to specific sections of my post as well as general ideas and themes.

I tried tagging more on posts in my new personal blog, Life is What You Doand saw higher traffic per post. I then tried this with Classy and True and saw the same thing so it is clearly a useful method of bringing in more and more traffic. The next step is to work on ways to keep those readers interested and coming back.

Linking Back and Forth to Another Blog

I also tried linking this blog to my personal one and vice versa. I did this with the idea that if a reader liked one, the he or she would hopefully like the other, too. Also, I usually do posts for both blogs in one sitting so it is very easy to include links back and forth. This is probably why my posts on each blog tend to relate to one another–I’m writing with a specific idea in mind.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to try to work on the above things and see how well they work with my blog. I don’t want to become inconsistent in my style so I don’t think that I’ll be doing too many new things for a while.

I’ll keep updating my journal on the progress of my blog.

Thanks,

Kassieboo (Kathryn)

Legalities:

“The Science of Happiness” does not belong to me. It belongs to Soul Pancake. I claim no ownership over any part of its material.

The Oatmeal does not belong to me, either. I just think that it is awesome!

Journal 2

There are tons of different factors that go into ranking well, but the biggest is high-quality content. (David Sinick)

The Technology and How-To

For the past week or so, I have explored different plugins and widgets which I can incorporate into my blog. I’ve looked at attaching my Twitter feed to my sidebar, creating contact forms, adding a search bar, and the like. I’ve googled various techniques and guidelines for personal blogs/websites in order to help me decide on which technologies to attach to Classy and True, but have found little which fits my vision for my blog. I don’t want a money-making site or a site specific to a particular group of academics or thinkers; I want a blog which the average person living in society can relate to and think about after reading. Humour is important to my vision.

Tangent Time!

However, in doing my research, I found that many how-to guides and articles focus on the business end of blogging; of the commodification of thought and opinion. The plugin selections are based on drawing more and more people to the site, not entertaining those who have already found their way there. One article, in particular, seemed to turn a media which was once an outlet for writers expressing themselves in a nontraditional way into a new commercial enterprise for writers and non-writers alike. The article’s subheading that bothered me the most was labeled “Promotion” and the first sentence in this section stated that the topic is “the big one” (Dholakiya). I do understand that being a blogger is a viable living and that this includes promotion (like an author offline), but I find it troubling that being an online writer is no longer about being a writer, if it ever was. Articles, such as the one mentioned, suggest that “you don’t have to be an amazing writer to be a successful blogger” (Dholakiya). I find this troubling. No, you don’t have to be another Vonnegut or Atwood to be a blogger, but shouldn’t being a relatively good writer be at least part of the reason for blogging? Maybe it’s just me being an English major, but I believe that writing is not as easy a many would have you think. It is fairly easy to separate good writers from those who use convoluted sentence structure and nominalization to appear good. Many bloggers are the latter. Some write well, but lack conviction or real interest in their topic. They have great skills of promotion and an intuitive sense of which widgets most interest readers, but do not necessarily have the gift of the written word. In the past week, I have realized that modern writing (blogging and the like) consists of so much more than being a good writer or feeling the need to write down particular experiences or opinions and it sometimes doesn’t even include these things.

I’m sorry to get off track, but this lesson in blogging as a commercial endeavor really interested me. I’m not sure that I think that bloggers need to be excellent writers, but I never realized how many other aspects there are in running a successful blog. This tells me that I still have a very long way to go.

Back to Widgets and Plugins

Really, I’m still exploring widgets. I have found that I like the idea of a visit counter which I have titled “Are We Popular Yet?”. This is the most interesting widget I have found for my site to date. I like the simplicity of Classy and True at the moment so I think that I will keep with this for a while.  As I said in my previous journal entry, I believe that a blog has to grow organically with additions coming from need rather than fear of boring readers. If I see a gap in my blog or realize that I’m missing something, then I will add on, but I’d like this to be practical rather than showy or for technology’s sake.

Any additions I make, I’ll be sure to reflect on in a journal entry.

Happy reading, happy blogging, and happy growing.

Kassieboo

Work Cited:

Dholakiya, Pratik. “How to Blog (Even if You Can’t Write).” Socialmedia Today. Gigya and Infusionsoft, 20 06 2013. Web. 21 Sep. 2013. <http://socialmediatoday.com/hishaman/1545026/how-to-blog&gt;.