There are no rules carved in stone for bloggers. In fact, they are free to be as expressive as possible and not be limited to the conventions of writing. However, as encouraging as it may sound to let all break lose, it’s still important to know the lines which cannot be crossed. Though they’re not expected to be the patron saint of bloggers, being an ethical one must be a priority.
What you will read in this article:
Credit your sources by providing ample citation.
Reblogging and reposting are common blogger practice, but it doesn’t mean that you’re free to copy-paste everything. Besides, what’s the point of blogging if you’re merely copying content elsewhere?
Before reposting anything, be it text or photo, make sure that the owner of the content allows reproduction of said work. While for some, it’s enough to merely put credits and disclaimer on where they got the content, it’s still common decency to ask permissions first. When it comes to write the credits, you can follow Purdue’s instruction on how to cite online references.
Be accountable for your words.
Freedom of speech is practiced in blogging, and rightly so. As a blogger, you’re free to express your views on any issue, because it’s your blog so it’s your call. However, you must be prepared for the repercussions of your essay-like blog posts. When it gets you in trouble or ends up offending someone, account for it. Don’t deny your words or place the blame on someone else. It’s your words, and you need to own up to it. Take responsibility for the effects of your words.
Don’t block feedback and responses.
When you put your words out there, then you must be prepared for the reaction it’ll get. When you write a controversial piece, then you must be prepared that there’ll be people who won’t agree with you. When you post something online, then you must also know that you leave it open for discussion. So filtering all the negative feedback will do nothing good for you as a blogger and your blog. Deleting every comment that doesn’t agree with you, even though they’re factual and not rude, reflects badly on your credibility as a blogger.
It’s up to you to close the comments section. But to get criticism and to ignore it leave no room for your improvement and growth as a blogger. If the criticisms attacks you as a person outside of your blog, you’re free to ignore it. But if it’s about something you mentioned on one of your posts or your blog in general, it’s best to listen.
Properly label opinions as opinions, not facts.
Blogging may not be journalism, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t deliver credible content through your posts. This issue is highly related to the topic of accountability. When you’re sharing your perspective and interpretation of events, remember to emphasize that it’s your opinion, and your readers are free to have their own. How many times have bloggers try to pass of their opinions as facts? It’s disconcerting because many people are quick to believe anything they read online. Don’t add fuel to the fire by letting them see your views as truths.
These are easy tips to follow. As a blogger, you have the power to share and manipulate data. But be the bigger person and let your blog be the source of factual information.
Question: Do you find useful this approach? Do you think, that this guide can be of use, when blogging? Do you want to be an ethical blogger?