October 6, 2020

Edie Melson ~ Online Etiquette

Edie Melson       


There is some confusion about online etiquette for mentioning and/or sharing content online. Here are some rules of etiquette that we all should consider before posting.

Mentioning and sharing content from sites we find valuable is the ultimate compliment, and a great way to encourage other bloggers and writers. Sharing a link to a site or even a specific blog post isn’t a copyright infringement. You can even share a short quote from another site without breaking any rules of good online behavior.
The Basics of Sharing Online Content

• The first thing we need to remember is this—when we’re sharing a link to someone else’s content, we’re giving them free word-of-mouth recognition. It’s exactly like saying something nice about a physical business and giving the address so the person you’re talking to can find it.

• Second, we never need to worry about sharing the title of something—blog post, article, book, website, etc. Titles cannot be copyrighted so there’s no infringement there.

• Third, if someone has something visible to the public online, then it’s legal to share a link to that public place. There are some nuances to sharing links to someone else’s content, and that’s what we’ll concentrate on.
Etiquette Basics

When I’m sharing someone else’s content—either in social media or quoting them in a blog post or article—I make certain it’s obvious who the author is. For example, if I’m sharing DiAnn Mills’ blog post about Master Plotting, then I’m going to mention her name as the author.

In a blog post, it might look like this: One of the best explanations of this is in a blog post from DiAnn Mills about Master Plotting

In a social media update it looks like this:

Great blog post from @DiAnnMills about Master Plotting on @BRMCWC

The social media update above lets readers know immediately that the material I’m referring to is written by someone else. It also goes a step further in that it also mentions the site where the material is presented. That’s only necessary if the site isn’t the website of the author.

If the article was on her website, I wouldn’t have mentioned her twice.
What NOT to Do

There are some things you’ll want to avoid doing—either because they’re poor etiquette or an outright violation of copyright.

1. Avoid mentioning a person, product, or place in a negative light. There may be times when you are tempted to bend this rule, but I recommend you do so only after a lot of thought and consideration. Don’t EVER post something negative without pausing to see if you’re ready to deal with the fallout.

2. Don’t repost someone else’s material without prior permission. You can quote a sentence or two from a blog post or article, but that’s it. After that, you need to contact the author and receive their permission.

3. Don’t share information from a private source. If the information you want to share is in a private or limited membership group of any type, you should never share the information publically without prior permission. For example, many authors send out newsletters. The best newsletters contain additional information that the author doesn’t share publicly. Another example would be if you’re in a private Facebook group, information shared in those groups is implicitly understood to be PRIVATE. It’s the worst breach of etiquette to release the information from either source, publicly.

NOTE: this is why there is NEVER a share button in a private Facebook group.

Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, including the bestseller Connections: Social Media and Networking Techniques for Writers. 

As a leading professional within the publishing industry, she travels to numerous conferences as a popular keynote, writing instructor and mentor. Her top-ranked blog for writers, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month, and she’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference.

In addition, as a respected expert in social media, Edie has the proven expertise to teach others how to plug in without sacrificing valuable writing time. Her bestselling eBook on this subject, has recently been updated, expanded and re-released as Connections: Social Media & Networking Techniques for Writers.

She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine, and the Social Media Mentor for My Book Therapy. She’s a member of the Advanced Writers andSpeakers Association, regular columnist for, and She and her husband, Kirk, have been married 35 years and raised three sons. They live in the Upstate of South Carolina. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook. Visit Edie on



  1. Great post, Edie. One we all need to print and keep nearby.

  2. Thank you Edie for this great informaton. As Ane Mulligan said we need to print off and keep nearby. I always find every post you write informative and helpful .