Since the mortgage industry slow down over the last couple of months, several Notaries have taken to writing blogs, exchanging comments on social media sites and posting on individual website forums. When you first start posting, like anything else, there is a trial-and-error-period while you learn what you should and should not do. Some Notaries are finding out the hard way — after being banned from some groups — what proper etiquette is. Etiquette is defined as rules governing socially acceptable behavior. I would like to suggest a few posting etiquette guidelines that will help everyone express their viewpoints more effectively. - When stating that something is a “fact”, make sure you either mention the source or provide a link to the source information. If you are quoting a conversation between you and another party or quoting conversations between two other parties, get permission from all parties to post. This will definitely lend credibility to your post. - If you disagree with another person, company, or agency position on a topic, make sure what you write is professional and respectful of your readers. For the last several months, Notaries’ “Professional Code of Conduct” has been at the forefront of the Internet discussion. Calling someone names and using profanity if they disagree with you brings negativity and damages your credibility. It also plays directly into the myth that signing agents are unprofessional. - Brace yourself for handling negative comments. According to Gala Darling, owner of galadarling.com and recently named one of the 10 most influential style bloggers in the world, blogging is like giving birth or creating a new piece of art. People don’t realize how much work goes into it. Some people could be looking to garner attention for themselves at your expense by publicly attacking you. There is no single way to handle this best. Some strategies used by professional bloggers have been to develop a policy for handling negative comments before they come. Always try to remember that negative comments are never about you or what you’ve written, they are always about the commenter. - Be sure to follow up with those people who were kind enough to write a response to your post. Let them know you truly appreciate them taking the time to drop a line. If you have more tips that would help others with posting, please feel free to share them. Daniel Lewis is the owner of Lewis Notary Services Inc. and a contributor to the Notary Bulletin.