8.1 Code of Ethics for Bloggers


Introduction

Blogging community is so unique in that it has no restriction to anyone joining. It is also where the freedoms of speech are ‘enjoyed’ without limits.

But to anyone who bothers to go the extra mile you will realize that most of bloggers are here just to trend and disregard all the norms that bind a sane society.

Blog Ethics

Can you stand by what you just blogged? Photo/NewJersey

This caught my eye especially when following up on trending topics. The plot usually seem to be lost so easily. In my quest in looking up what causes this loss of plot I came across Blognix, a site that helps bloggers to create a niche for themselves online.

Can you stand outside the blogosphere and defend your content online satisfactorily? If the answer is yes then you are a very responsible blogger.

But something else on this site really changed my outlook on most of the How to sites I come across daily. Blognix lists a number of code of ethics tailored for bloggers.

And in this post, I have curated some of them which I christened 8.1 Code of Ethics for Bloggers.

Never Plagiarize

There have been complains by top bloggers in Kenya that one of the blogs was re-posting their content without permission. The said blog,BlogYetu, had created a lot of traffic for its site without the consent of the content authors.

For a long time now many bloggers and even newspaper columnists in the country have been accused of lifting some content from other writers without acknowledging it.

This has also been rampant on Facebook where users are copy-pasting on their timelines other persons’ posts with no attribution at all.

Like I began above, I mentioned the inspiration for this article not only came from following up on online conversations but also the greatest part of it came from the Blognix website. What I have done is to credit and even offer a link to the original site that stimulated the content you are reading.

Counter-Check Facts before Publishing

The online platform floors the traditional media in the speed by which it disseminates information. The factor of immediacy is both advantageous and disastrous in the same leap. But where the day two journalism wins is in aspect of counter checking facts.

Over a week ago, someone was announced dead online and later on it was proved that he was still alive. This is a litmus test to any blogger that engages in breaking news. Unless as blogger you are a gossiper, you do not need to countercheck facts. After all, gossip is a juicy rumor. It remains a rumor nothing more or less.

A good chunk of Kenyan blogs thrive on publishing gossip. It is characterized by clauses like according to sources close to the person, our informer told us in privacy, it is said that she was seen, we have a secret document/photos/telephone conversations and the list goes on.

Present Opinion as Opinion

The distinction between creative writing, news and opinion seems to become so grey when you scan through the blog posts. Just like with checking facts, writing opinion posts may cause a confusion to the readers.

The authors of the blog must state at the onset of the post whether it is a piece of opinion or rather reporting on facts. This enables the audience to create their independent conclusions.

Also never forget to declare disclaimer as much as possible. The disclaimer has to cut across both in micro and macro blogging circumstances.

In a number of blogs especially those purporting to be in the investigative category, much of the content is opinion being passed on as news features. As a blogger you can remedy this by having a distinct opinion page on your site.

Also never forget to declare disclaimer as much as possible. The disclaimer has to cut across both in micro and macro blogging circumstances.

What Inspires your Posts?

What made you to come up with the post? In many instances bloggers have been accused especially those doing political and consumer goods commentaries of coming up with posts that are driven by money interest. They use their platform to arm-twist the accused persons to part with cash so that they do not publish certain dossiers on them.

Sometimes the bloggers take advantage of their audience to market some products passing it out as opinion or news. This is unethical. Unless you are doing a product review you should just like posting an opinion declare your interests in the subject matter.

Note any biases you may have

This is mostly evident when you are posting on product review and politics. It is usually very challenging especially commenting on politics without tending to lean on one side.

From the onset of your post declare whether you are on the north, south or you are objectively at the center. Even the editorials in the mainstream trusted media declare their biases and never hide behind the wording of their pieces. Bias affect the way one communicates facts.

Don’t feed the trolls

In Kenya or the US for instance, the political fever is at its peak. A good number of players in this political arena are out to cause divisions and public unrest. As a blogger you have to be careful not to fuel the rift caused by politicians. Leave that to the politicians’ public relations personnel.

But this does not bar one to come up with a political commentary. The content and the drive of the posts matters a lot. It should not be used as a mouthpiece for political mileage.

Be civil and courteous

Even when online behind the keyboard, one does not cease to be a human being. The respect required of a blogger goes just beyond him presenting facts but how he/she does it.

Choice of words and graphics in ones posts go a long way in showing what character he/she is. When doing a critic you do not have to use abusive or obscene terms.Upholding human dignity even online adds to the blogger’s authenticity.

Don’t Say Anything Online That You Wouldn’t Say In Person

Are you the same person both online and offline? Can you stand outside the blogosphere and defend your content online satisfactorily? If the answer is yes then you are a very responsible blogger.

We have seen many of the keyboard warriors when confronted on live radio or TV broadcast have had to denounce their blog content. This is embarrassing to the individuals. But it can be averted when one sticks to posting facts and adhering to decent language.

Admit Mistakes and correct them

The old time sage declared that it is only a fool who does not change his mind. Mistakes are bound to be made.

The online platform is a good fertile ground to defame, twist facts, misrepresent news, hurl insults and commit all those vices possible. All these or some of them are bound to be committed by any blogger.

The bloggers even the smart ones are not fireproof. And when it happens, it is prudent to own up, apologize to the aggrieved party and move on.

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5 responses to “8.1 Code of Ethics for Bloggers

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