Response Blog #4 – Ethics for Bloggers

As a new blogger, I find blogging to be one of the best ways for self expression. Writing has always been my thing and as a shy child, it was my way of expressing my thoughts and the things I wanted to talk about.  At secondary school, my essays would often be displayed around the building and that was a confidence booster.  So I can see why so many people enjoy it. The idea that we can attract a community around us and singularly share our creative content has a powerful effect on bloggers.  But as with each technology, blogging has its affordances and constraints. With blogging sites being so easy to setup, it is important for each blogger to design their webpage with integrity and responsibility.

Although bloggers enjoy the fact that they can build relationships with their readers, which involves making it easy for them to connect and share information, I think what most people like is that sense of uncensored freedom that blogging affords.  However, it is that same uncensored freedom that Carroll warns against in Writing for Blogs (Carroll 184). Without a standardized code of ethics, the casual style of writing is often misused and misguided.  While it is true that not all bloggers are journalists, Carroll says that bloggers should seek truth and be honest, minimize harm, act independently and be accountable (Carroll 185).  I believe that responsible bloggers have an obligation to their readers to show that they can be trusted.  Depending on both content and context, the public have a right to reliable information.

I believe that the most important quality¬†of blogging is to be genuine and honest. ¬†But being honest isn’t always easy. ¬†Advertising is growing¬†vigorously and online media has given it that boost it needs to flourish. Bloggers are bombarded with offers of free products in exchange for them giving a review on their¬†webpage. ¬†How can viewers¬†be sure of the integrity of the blogger and the content? ¬†Bloggers have to be mindful of obligations¬†that could influence their content and exercise caution even if it means that they have to refuse products or services. ¬†It is far better not to align creator content with advertisements but if there is an agreement, then bloggers should¬†be prepared to offer full disclosure.

It is¬†a blogger’s duty to uphold the truth even if that means admitting a mistake. ¬†Carroll’s advice is that¬†if a correction is needed, the blogger should first of all, take responsibility for the error and correct the mistake immediately¬†(Carroll 188).¬†The best way for bloggers to guard against inaccuracies is to be clear between what¬†is an¬†opinion and what a¬†fact.