Blogging has always been a medium rather less moderated and free from conformance demands; yet, ethical blogging is a responsibility bloggers should not escape. Blogging is one of the best testimonies of freedom of expression in today’s times.
Yes, anyone anywhere anytime can start a blog of his own and write anything on any subject. However, for a blogger with substantial following, this statement might just not be entirely true.
It is a fact that until a blogger is influential to a critical mass he could be left free from any control whatsoever. But as the number of readers increase and the blog starts gaining popularity, ethical blogging becomes a necessity to avoid legal rounds and disapproval and disappointment of the readers.
With following comes responsibility of delivering content which is not offending and casually critical of any section of the society, government as well as corporate.
This responsibility therefore requires a protocol of delivering content through blogs. Depending on situation and subject, different guiding principles should be followed while blogging to get the best out of it.
While these guidelines could vary for different types of blogs, there are certain general rules of ethical blogging that should be considered before posting a blog content in the public domain.
Accuracy and Sourcing of Content
While a blogger is free to post content and data freely, ethical blogging is to ensure that the content is relevant and the data supporting it is accurate. To gain users subscription to a blog’s views and connect with it, it is important to instill a sense of confidence in the readers’ minds.
One of better ways to do this is by quoting sources of information and data used in the blog. This adds more credibility to the views of the blogger and also transfers any risk associated with the information to the source.
Another thing to keep in mind for ethical blogging while picking content from a source is to seek permission if need be. Though it’s still a grey area it’s better to be on the safer side by taking an approval of picking content from some other website or source.
Accepting Accountability of Content
This means letting your readers express their views about your blog’s content as easily and freely as possible. The sanctity of ethical blogging rests in the notion that while a blogger has all the freedom to writing a blog, the readers should enjoy equal status as far as expressing a response to it is concerned.
Most of the bloggers do this by allowing comments to the articles they post. Users can express their support or counter-opinions through the comments section of the blog.
In case the blogger holds a professional position, displaying that on the blog giving links to his or her professional profile is another way of accepting accountability.
This also could help in lending authenticity to the blog at the same time. Ethical blogging is very much about being as transparent as possible.Keeping a check on How Personal to be
This is more in case of conformance to ethical blogging while you are doing it on behalf of a firm or institution you are affiliated to. It could be a consumer goods company, a news agency, anything.
In such cases, the blogger should be careful while he is expressing his or her personal views or opinions on a story or news item. Many agencies expect news articles to be unadulterated and straight.
It is even more important because lapses on this part might cost a job or even legal trial. Such articles that represent an entire organization’s views have the capacity to build or wreck its reputation in the eyes of its consumers.
It is therefore important for the firm to lay down ethical blogging rules clearly and for the bloggers to abide by.
Causing Minimum Damage
While blogging on issues that are sensitive and have the potential to affect a set of people or a part of society should be properly toned and delicately worded. For example, a report related to children or personal interviews with victims are matters of sensitivity and should be handled with care.
The crux here is that one of the rules of ethical blogging should be to minimize the damage that it can cause to anyone in the worst case scenario. The intention always should be to do more good than bad.
Summarily, blogging being a channel to express thoughts freely is also subject to some show of responsibility to the external world.
While copyright infringement and intellectual property rights issues are few of the legal corners to keep a tap of, there is even a larger concern of the securitization of social harmony and respect which necessitates ethics in blogging or more aptly ‘ethical blogging’.
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