Seven tips for middle school students who will be reading and commenting on blogs.

1. Assume it’s public

Some blogs are private so that only the class can see them. Others are public and the world can read what you say. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell how the blog you’re commenting on is set up. That’s why I suggest you assume everything’s public.

2. Use the “2 Minute Rule”

In person, my rule is that you must be listening to a conversation at least 2 minutes before adding anything. This is kind to the people who in the conversation before you got there and it helps you make the best comments possible.

Online, you need to read the entire conversation before responding.  Same deal as in person.

3. Do unto others

Be kind, be constructive. You can use the sandwich method to leave a good comment: start with praise, go on to your constructive criticism, and close with praise.

4. Build on previous comments

Read not only the original blog post but also the comments. Then attempt to add to the conversation with statements like, “I agree with Peter when he said his favorite rule was the 2 Minute Rule.” Go on to explain why. The “why” is the more important part. No one learns from a “me, too!” response but we can all learn from additional explanations you can add.

5. Quote me on that

If you’re responding to one part of what was said, copy-paste the relevant text so we’ll know what you’re talking about.

6. Edit, edit, edit

I like to read all my online writing out loud to see if it sounds right. Then I’ll remove unnecessary words and correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation.

7. Protect your identity

I suggest you use a screen name or your first name only. When leaving a blog comment, your email address is usually given only to the site owner so use a real one.

What tips would you add to the list?

Thanks, Cool Cat Teacher (Ten habits of bloggers) for inspiring this post!