When I receive a series of emails related to similar topics, I suspect that more than a few people are thinking the same thing. Recently, I received an email asking about the ethics of sharing art projects via blogs. One particular art teacher was feeling torn between sharing her lessons for all to use but didn’t like it when teachers in her own community would use her lessons. I suspect that she is not alone in that unidentifiable feeling of being taken advantage of. But the question she had was: Should I be feeling this way?
In short, the answer is kinda yes and kinda no. I don’t generally like to talk about blog tips on my blog as I’m not an expert, but I have learned a few things in the last 3 years. So to avoid feeling like your very soul is being ripped out by dozens of unfeeling teachers, take a step back and know that the problem is mostly because they don’t know better. Let’s face it, art teachers are new to blogging and may not know all the bloggy protocol that has slowly been bubbling to the surface. So here are a few basics steps that I know will help many of you…
State your mission
On every blog platform (Blogger, WordPress, etc) you have the opportunity to introduce yourself and state the purpose of your blog. Most blogs allow you to post a picture and say a few brief words. Typically, this introduction is best served just below your banner or header. That’s where most people look for it. I’d highly recommend introducing yourself this way, especially if you have a blog without a menu.
If you do have a menu, you can include an “About Me” page. This is often one of the most clicked on pages on your blog because people want to know who is writing the blog. This is the perfect space for stating your blog intentions. And don’t be shy. This is your chance to tell readers whether you want to share your lessons or if they are strictly for parents and students. State very specifically in your disclaimer what you will allow or not allow. If you don’t want anything shared, including your ideas, then you may want to make your blog private or for registered readers only.
On my blog, I have call my disclaimer a Copyright Nudge. I want people to use my ideas, but I do ask that they link back to my blog post, not my home page. Truthfully, very few art teachers do this and I think the reasons are the following:
- They don’t know how
- They are rushed to get their post out
- They don’t understand that not linking back is a no-no.
Questions people ask
Sometimes it’s helpful to have a FAQ page to answer some basic questions we all wonder about.
- Is it okay to pull pictures from your blog? (Hopefully, the answer is no)
- Can I copy your art tutorial on my blog? (Again, I’m hoping you aren’t in favor of this)
- Can I link back to your blog post if I used your lesson? (Yes! I’ll show you how further on down).
- Can I copy and paste text onto my blog?
How to Link Back
To show you how to link back, I’m referring this tutorial to my web designer, Darcy from Life with My 3 Boybarians. No one can explain computer/blogging details better than her. Her blog post on finding a permalink is so much better than what I could do.