Saturday, April 30, 2005
Dave Taylor: Blog Quality and Ethics
Here is post #2 in my continuing series of posts related to my current email micro-survey, in which I ask top bloggers the question:
"What do you think is the most pressing Ethics or Quality issue for blogs?"
DAVE TAYLOR brings up a very interesting topic, which I brazenly respond to in my typically strident, bullheaded, and ill-bred fashion...
[DAVE TAYOR states:]
I think that the two are sufficiently intertwined that I can't answer the question you've posed.
Here's how I figure this: one facet of quality is credibility, and a critical part of credibility is whether or not the blogger is ethical or not.
If I get a check from Apple Computer to write good things about the iPod but forget to disclose that to my readership, that's what I would consider a significant ethical lapse, and subsequently would affect the overall quality (though perhaps not the perceived quality) of the article.
Intuitive Systems: Online Strategies and Communications
Innovative Business Thinking @ http://www.intuitive.com/blog/
[STEVEN STREIGHT replies:]
Yes sir, you make perfect sense.
First, let's assume that the 9 Blog Core Values that I propose and advocate all over the blogosphere are valid.
Let's assume that a blog should be the genuine, candid, honest, truthful voice of a real person who is not trying to manipulate, hype, or deceive readers.
Keeping the 9 essential values of blogging firmly in mind...
I am opposed to blogstitution, blogwhores.
I will never "blog" for any product or company, at least not in the sense of them buying my opinion, using payment to determine what I say and how I say it.
A "professional blogger" who sluts himself out to the highest bidder is one of the lowest forms of Scumblogger.
Could you legitimately "blog for" a company?
If the blogging was on a general area of expertise or interest related to the company's industry, field of endeavor, or social function.
For example, let's say I like Apple Computer, which is true.
[I entered the computer world back in 1984 with an Apple Macintosh, word processing and MacPaint.]
Say they take a liking to me, Steve Jobs notices my blogs or my comments at other blogs.
They offer me a job as an Apple blogger, with a special blog called Gravity Apple at a subdomain of their corporate web site.
I would consider this job, only if I could blog about whatever topics I chose, and did not have to say anything about Apple products. I would say nice things about the company if these things were true, and if these things were sufficiently noteworthy to me. Otherwise, buzz off.
I would focus on blogging about blogology, not about Apple.
But readers would be attracted to my Gravity Apple blog, enjoy reading my outrageously witty and interesting articles, and perhaps even mosey on over to the Apple corporate home page and check out the merchandise.
However, paying me to pervert my values, using money to attempt to influence my opinion, trying to buy my mind...no way.
If Apple was conducting research on some computer thingamajig, and it was interesting to me, I might blog about it a little, just as an information service. But it would be wise for Apple to encourage me to compliment their competitors if I felt impressed by something, say IBM or HP was doing. That would vastly increase the credibility of Gravity Apple blog.
Y'know...maybe I'll propose such a ridiculous idea to Apple. It's so dumb, it should work.
But "blogging for hire", where a blogger will say anything you pay him to say...
...that is "blogstitution" or "whore-blogging" or "blogo-slutting" or "prosti-blogging."
Now, gentle reader, what do you think?
Am I being contradictory?
How can I say I'd blog only about interesting aspects of a company? Am I living in a dream world?
Can you be an internal corporate blogger and refrain from praising a product if you don't really believe in or trust that particular product, or disagree with the marketing spin or sales hype?
Is "blogging for hire" always ethically wrong?
Is "paid blogging" just another way of compromising the integrity of blogging as a profession?
Make a comment and express your opinion.
Posted by steven edward streight at 4/30/2005 03:22:00 AM