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Linky Party Like a Dinner Party?

A linky party is when a blogger uses a widget to allow others to post content on their blog. A person participating in a linky party usually leaves a link back to a specific post in their blog, and often an image. It can be a great way to promote your blog. In return, the linky party hostess often asks for some kind of recognition, often in the form of a link back.

I find that often the best way to explain a large complex idea is to use an analogy. So, in an effort to help explain my take on linky party etiquette,  I’m going to compare linky parties to a dinner party. Because we’ve all been to a dinner party. Or heard about one. Or seen one in a movie. And besides, I love putting together a good analogy. And then stretching it further than it ever should have gone…

Feel free to tell me in the comments if you agree, disagree, or want to stretch this analogy even further!

Food at dinner party

Dinner Party: My friend has an open invitation for all of her friends and neighbors to come to her house for a weekly dinner party. Every Friday night, we can show up between 6-8pm for food and conversation. She always makes sure to put on some fun music, and creates a warm welcoming environment. She asks two things of us. 1) That we bring a home-made dish to share. 2) That we take some time to mingle and chat with the other guests.

Linky Party: My friend has a linky party on her crafting blog. Every Friday we can post a link from our blog onto her linky party. She always -makes sure to have a fun theme, feature bloggers or posts from the prior week, and makes it fun for everyone to join in. She asks two things of us. 1) That we link back to her blog in our post. 2) That we visit some of the other blogs that have linked up.

 

Dinner Party: At her last dinner party, there were a couple guests who came and pigged out on all the food that everyone brought, but hadn’t brought anything to share!

Linky Party: At the last linky party, there were a couple bloggers who linked up, but didn’t link back.

Why this analogy works: When you link back to the linky party in your post, it does several things. First, it shows up as a link to the hostess’s blog, and helps her traffic. Second, one of your readers might see the link and follow it to the party, allowing others to join in. If you’re too busy to run by the store to pick up a cake and try to pass it off as home-made, maybe you’re too busy to come to the party.

 

Dinner Party: There were some guests who came straight from work and didn’t have time to bring something home-made. They went to a drive-through and picked up some fried chicken to bring to the party.

Linky Party: Some of the bloggers who linked up either had the link back to the party in their sidebar, or on a “linky party page.”

Why this analogy works: The dinner party hostess asked for home-made dishes. The linky party hostess asked that we link back to the party in our post. In both cases the spirit of the request was honored (bringing something to eat/linking back), but not the specifics (something homemade/linking in the post). And, different hostesses will see this differently. Many will be glad that you came to enjoy the party, and brought a dish to share. For some hostesses, when they say homemade, they mean it. Know your hostess, or e-mail ahead. Some even think that a permanent link in the sidebar is more visible, and therefore prefer it (hey, everybody likes fried chicken, right?).

 

Dinner Party: A third guest brought a dish to share, stayed for a quick meal, then left without talking to anyone.

Linky Party: A third person linked up to the party and linked back, but didn’t visit any of the other blogs that had linked up, or leave comments on those blogs.

Why this analogy works: Linking up to a party without sticking around to check out the other links isn’t very social. And that’s what linky parties, and dinner parties, are all about. Hang out, stay awhile. See what other guests have to offer. You might leave inspired to work on a new project – or make a new friend!

 

Dinner Party: There was another guest who was party-hopping, and went to 50 different parties that night!

Linky Party: One of the bloggers who linked up was also linked up to 50 different parties!

Why this analogy almost works, but really falls flat: If you go to 50 parties in one night, you’re going to be exhausted, and not have your full attention at any one party. Some will argue that if you link up to 50 linky parties, you’re not going to be able to visit other bloggers and be a good guest, but some will say that they can. Personally, I think it is tacky to link up to dozens of parties, and like to pick 3 at the most. But, maybe I’m just jealous of people who have the time to visit all those parties!

 

Dinner Party: There was a guest who brought a lasagna they’d taken out of their freezer. It was yummy, though! They’d made it from scratch using a home-made tomato sauce from home-grown tomatoes.

Linky Party: This blogger linked up to the party using an older post from their blog, but one that fit the theme, and they edited the post to link back to the party.

Why this analogy works: Sometimes, especially with themed linky parties, you have the perfect post to share… but you wrote it several months (or even a couple years) ago. Just like a frozen lasagna, blog posts can have a fairly long shelf-life. Some hostesses might prefer the dish you bring (or post you link) is fresh, while others don’t care when it was made – just that it is delicious!

 

Dinner Party: There was a guest at the dinner party who made it a point to go to each of the other guests, shake their hand, pass over a business card, and then move on.

Linky Party: This blogger visited the other blogs in the party, and left each a comment with “So cute! Come visit me sometime at (insert blog link here).”

Why this analogy works: We’ve all met the party guest who makes the rounds with the only purpose being to promote themselves. It happens in real life, and on blogs, and it is always obvious.

 

Dinner Party: After last week’s dinner party, my friend got a thank-you note from several of the of the guests.

Linky Party: On the last linky party post, my friend got comments on the post thanking her for hosting the party.

Why this analogy works: Either as a hand-written note, or a blog comment, we all like knowing we’re appreciated.

 

Your turn! Did this analogy work for you? Did I stretch it too far… or do you want to try your hand at stretching it even further?

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50 Responses to “Linky Party Like a Dinner Party?”

  1. This a great post and SO true… more than anything I appreciate when fellow party guests make a sincere comment on my post before “leaving their business card”… I’m happy to get the card, but want to have a meaningful exchange with them first. Orangies Attic

  2. Great post. I definitely think that link parties can be compared to real parties…I wrote up a similar post last year that hit a nerve with a lot of readers. Having good manners is just as important in Blogland as it is in “real life.”

  3. J. Hill says:

    Super analogy! I have one more for you:

    Dinner Party: One guest arrived pulling a wagon full of casseroles, salads, side dishes, desserts, cocktails, mixed nuts… Another guest was intimidated and got nervous to share her simple jello mold thinking nobody would eat any of it anyway.

    Linky Party: One blogger linked up 42 of her best and brightest projects, convincing other bloggers it wasn’t worth it to link their one little tutorial.

    Why it works: Linking up too many projects to a party can be off-putting. Link up one or two this week, and then come back next week to share some more of your creativity!

    • Ooooh, good one! I’ve had lots of times where I thought my “jello mold” projects weren’t good enough. I guess it helps to remember that even if I feel the jello mold doesn’t compare to a wagon full of casseroles, there are still plenty of people who have trouble getting jello to set up correctly (especially once fruit cocktail is added), and would appreciate my tips!

      Thanks for helping me stretch the analogy even further!

  4. heather says:

    Fun post, Carolina! Hopefully the analogies will help people really figure out why etiquette is a great thing at a Linky Party!

  5. I think the analogy worked well, and I’m looking forward to taking part in my first link party.

    I’m also hungry now. :D

  6. amy says:

    This is awesome Carolina! I love it – so true. There is a strategy to linky parties so I’m glad you wrote this (and thank you!)

  7. This is such a fab article! No really, it is great. I loved it. I linked to it in this weeks link party, and it may just become a staple link each week in my party. Everyone should understand the rules and etiquette of link parties. I’m so sick of people not following the rules of my party. Maybe they’ll read this post and think twice now. Thank you!
    http://www.houseofhepworths.com/2011/06/22/hookin-up-with-hoh-54/

    Allison @ House of Hepworths

  8. Jenni says:

    This is a fantastic post… I really love the use of analogy and it really helps put the linky parties (which are new to me) into perspective in a nice way!

  9. Just Jaime says:

    Great analogy. I think the trickiest thing you mentioned was the not linking back within each post. It’s my preference to put buttons on the bottom of my blog to each party. I don’t think it’s exactly equivalent to bringing KFC to a dinner party though, because like you mentioned it’s permanently there, it’s like free advertising for the blog, 24/7.

    • Jaime – I remember when my brothers and I were in scouting, and we’d go to the monthly potluck, the first thing all us kids would go for was the bucket of KFC. If you didn’t act fast, it would be gone… it was clearly a potluck favorite.
      Likewise, some bloggers would agree that they prefer having the blog button in the sidebar or as a permanent fixture at the bottom of the page, because it gets more visibility. It really depends on who the hostess is.

  10. This is some great advice. I wish I’d read it a while back when I was trying to figure out what a Link Party was. I would have been much less confused!

  11. Carolina – I’m so glad you did this and so pleased I found it. I’m new to these parties and like to be a good guest, and now I know how!

    Well done, well written and also fun to read.

    Thanks for sharing – your timing was impeccable!

    Karen

  12. Heather says:

    As the co-host of a weekly party and the founder of a 12 blog hosted party with over a thousand links this past week can I say this is one of the MOST fabulous posts I have seen about linky party etiquette. We agonize over this every week. We don’t want to be the link party police but we ask so little of our guest the main one being a link back somewhere, anywhere! Also, we ALWAYS notice the ones who link up, link back and leave a “thank you note”. We visit them more often, their blog stays on our minds and we are more likely to feature them the next week. THANK YOU for writing this. Like Allison we will be using it in our Inspiration Friday posts each week. Our hats off to you for a fabulous post.

    Heather (and Vanessa)

    • YAY! I’m so glad that this helps. I still remember when I first ventured into blogging, I didn’t know the rules and I’m sure I broke more than a few! And not intentionally… I just didn’t know I was doing anything wrong. Since we’re all part of this wonderful craft blogging community, I think we all want to do the “right” thing… if someone would just let us know what that is!
      That’s not saying that this article is the rule, and everything here is right… but I think that it helps to be able to compare the “wild west” of blogging to something real and tangible.

  13. Found your post over at House of Hepworths. The question that had been haunting me was how many parties it’s appropriate to link to. I’m pretty new blogger, so linky parties have been a great way for me to find out about other blogs, get creatively inspired, and share my voice. I have probably gone more overboard linking at the outset as I would be once I’m a little more established. It’s also been interesting to see which link parties I fit best with. There are so many out there!

    • Hollie -
      Like I mentioned in the post, my analogy on how many parties to link up to really fell flat because real life parties and linky parties don’t really have the same time commitment or structure. My personal belief, that I’ve developed over time, is no more than 3. Just because that is enough for me. I visit plenty of blogs that have 5-7 linked up on a single post, and I don’t look at it strangely… it is all a matter of what works for you. Just like a real party, you get out of it what you put in. You can go to a dozen parties, but you won’t enjoy them as a wallflower – you have to get in and mingle! : )

  14. Rondell says:

    This is so true, I always link at the bottom of my post and have their button on my sidebar and I do thank the hosts at the bottom of the poat. I do have to get better at leaving a comment on the hosts posts though, thanks for opening my eyes a little more:)

    Rondell

  15. Patricia says:

    Oh, my goodness. I pride myself on good manners, but I think I broke several of these rules last week. (I’m hanging my head in shame.) I’m a very new blogger, and I think I linked up to 2 parties last week. I know on one of them I hit post before I remembered to post the link. There really is a lot to remember. I tried editing a post that was already up – and it posted again! (Hanging my head in horror.)
    I need to print this out – when I get my printer to print – so I can look at it before I try again.
    Thanks so much for the info.

  16. kathy says:

    THAT WAS GREAT! Now I can understand clearly (Sorts). I am new to blogging and have only had my site two months. Blogging I know little about but entertaining I am a veteran and I have war stories to show it. From 10 to 200 that I can handle but linking to a party took me three weeks of painful, humilitating and embrassing days. Only last night I linked to a party that I had already linked to. Yikes!

    Thank you for putting this challenge into language I can understand.

    I love your blog.
    Kathy

    • I’m glad this helped. I find that most things make more sense when you relate them to something you might have some experience with in real life. Congratulations on your new blog! I’m glad you were able to find this Crafterminds site – hopefully you’ll find lots of good information here. : )

  17. Dayle says:

    Great article, Carolina. I’m not sure which analogy describes a problem I run into as a linky party hostess, but let me put it like this: If the dinner party is a “salad supper,” don’t show up with hamburgers. My linky party is a very specific party, and I like to keep the meme pure. Still, there are those who show up with something way off base that has no bearing on the theme of the party. I hate to delete links, but I have to stay true to myself and my party.

    • Dayle – I completely understand, and love the analogy! You don’t bring Mac & Cheese to a dessert party. You don’t bring steak to an all-vegetarian potluck. If you don’t want to bring something appropriate to the table, maybe it isn’t the right party for you.

  18. Thank you so much for writing this post! It is so cleverly and intelligently written and hits all the major points of linky party etiquette. It should be a required read for anyone who participates in linky parties.

  19. Lolly Jane says:

    LOVE this. we’ve always naturally thanked the host before starting our own weekly party months ago. it surprises us that out of 100+ link ups we’ll have maybe 8-10 comments. it’s free advertising for the “party attendees” projects and if they throw our name/button on a permanent list, free advertising for the hostess too. it benefits all who party. you’re spot on, THANK YOU for the fun yet realistic analogies! (: kelli & kristi

  20. Rae says:

    Great analogies. I love linky parties, but I’d never have the guts to leave links back to my blog, it just feels a bit obvious

    I still feel a bit shy about joining in the parties but I really nejoy finsing new blogs to go and visit, I think that’s my favourite thing

  21. Carolina, thank you so much for this enlightening post. I’m coming over from Inspiration Friday at the Picket Fence. I have to say that I too must hang my head in shame as I’ve broken more than one of these rules of etiquette. I did it out of ignorance, but am glad I now know better. I’ve created a page on my blog in which I have buttons for all the parties I’ve ever joined. This is a permanent way of promoting the great blogs where I party. At the bottom of my posts I usually put a link to that page as well as text links back to the parties I linked that post to. After a couple of weeks have gone by though, I delete the text links and leave up a link to the party page. Question: Should I just leave the text links back permanently on my post and not delete them? I did it simply because I thought since there is a new party every week the text links would no longer be necessary. Please excuse my ignorance in the matter and I appreciate you writing this for us newbies.

    • Stacy,
      Please don’t hang your head! Crafterminds is NOT about shaming people… this site is all about educating craft bloggers. Each party hostess will have a different opinion, but here is mine as someone who has linked to a lot of parties:
      1. Having a text link at the bottom of the post is fine. Some parties will say in their “rules” that they don’t care if you use the button or a text link, the key is that you’re linking back. I have heard that a text link may even provide better SEO for the hostess blog than the button does.
      2. Adding a page with all the buttons is a bonus. It is a great resource for other bloggers wanting to find cool parties.
      3. Deleting the links after doesn’t really make sense to me. They are not a casserole dish you left at the party and need to pick up. As I mentioned in this post where I discuss links, a link is a vote for a site. You’re essentially “voting” for the hostess site, and then a couple weeks later retracting your vote. Unless you’re concerned that the hostess has a blog that will be going away, leaving you with a broken link on your blog, I don’t really see any reason for you to go back and remove the links. The text links are still valuable to the hostess blog, because they continue to show as links back to her site, which will improve her SEO (which is probably one of the reasons she started the party in the first place).

      Party on! : )

  22. Fabulous analogy! I do link up to several parties each week and definitely try to read the specifics. I don’t get it right every single time (hey, who does?) but I definitely try. Great post. :)

  23. Eva Taylor says:

    I am new to the linky parties, and I found this analogy super helpful! I was reading the requirements to a specific linky party and the hostess said not to link back to any other parties because it was tacky, so I didn’t link to that party because I had already linked back to one. Since I am new to this, I was trying to google “link party etiquette” and came across this blog post. Thanks for the terrific analogy!!

  24. Robin says:

    Carolina,

    I followed the link from At The Picket Fence link party today to your article. I cannot agree more with their description of this article as “fabulous”.

    Your analogy is so well developed and clearly presented. I love how you tied the digital world social scene back to the social graces of real life.

    I am a newbie blogger myself (less than 2 months) and really appreciate finding this insightful article and words of wisdom. Actually, there’s a great tie back to the theme @ At The Picket Fence … the party is about things that inspire, and your words have inspired me.

    Thanks
    Robin
    happilyhomeafter.blogspot.com

  25. Kathy says:

    Thank you so much for the article on linky party do’s and don’t. Sorry to say I am guilty of some of the don’t. I’m a newbie to blogging and a real newbie to linky parties. Your article will hopefully make me a better party guest!

  26. Ange says:

    Carolina,
    Wonderful stuff! I followed over here from At the Picket Fence and was wondering if I could also share this link in a future blog post? I’m going to snoop around here some more! thanks!

  27. Sharon says:

    Great article! I am new and have tried really hard to follow most of the rules. The only two problems I’ve had is 1)how to post party link backs at the bottom of each post and 2)When leaving a comment on several host sites, I get an imput error: cookie value is null for formrestoration? Still working on getting these figured out…just hate for them to think I’ve been rude.

  28. I know this is an older post, but I just found it and I have to say I agree with a lot of your points. I really liked the analogy as well. It drives me crazy when I go to a linky party expecting certain types of recipes and then click on the links and they are not related at all. I also hate it when one post is linked to 50 different parties. I have my doubts that those people visit all of those parties themselves.

    I also just read another post that said parties that have a picture link instead of just a text link cost the host money, which I did not realize. Knowing that it is not free for the host is another reason to mind the etiquette.

    Thanks!

  29. Melissa says:

    This is fantastic. I have a New Blogger Series that I host and this week the subject is Ettiquette- I would love to feature this. I’ll have it linked directly here so they can come over and read your analogy! I LOVE this!!

  30. Cait L says:

    I really appreciated this link! I’m new to the blogging world and had been doing some but not all of these things. Good to know what I needed to do but no one ever told me! Thanks :-)

  31. Do you have a list of linky parties? I’d love to try different ones out.

    Thanks!

  32. Karisse says:

    I’ve been the guest at the dinner party who attends, looks and smells the food and writes down some of the recipes but never brings or eats anything. But, I’ve been thinking strongly about starting a blog, and found this article linked by Serendipity & Spice and found it very helpful, thank yoU!

  33. Morgan says:

    Thanks for the great post! I’m a bit worried that I’ve been going to too many parties, but I liked the comment that in the beginning you attend a bunch to figure out which ones actually fit. I’ve been struggling with the old high school issue – do you attend the massive party that the popular girl is throwing and everyone is attending or a smaller party where someone might know your name?

  34. Just wanted to thank you for your great post! I’ve been trying to figure out the “best practices” for these parties. This was very helpful!

  35. Debi Beard says:

    OK so I will admit that I am a NOOB and now totally freaked to join a party because I’m still not sure how to do this correctly. Last night I tried to enter a tutorial contest and they required a link back to them, so I went to my post hit edit and put a sentence at the end of my post telling my readers that there was a fun contest that I was entering and if they wanted to enter they could go to…. and then I inserted the link. When I went back to enter my project I kept getting a message saying that there was no link? there was no contact or help button either. What did I do wrong? Spent about 30 minutes trying and then gave up in frustration. How do you actually make the link back?
    Are you expected to write post solely for the party, or can you incorporate the party into your post on the tutorial? How old is considered frozen lasagna? more than a week or a few months?
    if your tutorial has been featured on a blog, is it poor taste to submit it to another blog later?
    If you submit a tutorial how long do you wait to hear back before submitting to another blog ?
    Sorry to ask so many questions at once, if you can answer just one I’ll be super thankful!

  36. Chelsea says:

    Thank you! I was wondering about the etiquette of linky parties, you helped so much!

  37. Thank you so much! I had been struggling to come up with a good explanation… this is brilliant. I just went ahead and linked to it… I can’t possibly top this one. Thanks again!

  38. Jessica K says:

    Thank you so much for your explanation! I loved the dinner part analogy and all th link party faux pas you pointed out. Could you help me out even more? How does one ask to be part of a link party?

  39. Lara B. says:

    This is such a terrific post! I am new to blogging and your analogy made the concept of Link Parties easy to understand. They sound fun!

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