I have a hard time reading some blogs out there.  I know blogs are highly biased writing exercises.  It can also lack objectivity.  I sometimes wonder why people write to spur up controversy.  I see them blogging for the wrong reasons.

Pastor Rick Warren called out bloggers as “cowards” because we can be too critical, speak half-truths (sometimes no truth), and make no room for discussion.

There lies the problem with blogging:  Who are we accountable to?  If I only report to myself, then I can pretty much say and do anything.   But is that the best use of my time and effort to blog?  Should I care about the subject I’m writing?   Do I care what my readers think?

To be a responsible blogger, I follow these steps:

Research

I’ve been in this situation before where I get lazy and just write from the top of my head. Sometimes I don’t bother to look at the story, idea, or argument from all sides.  After publishing the post, I re-read my article and realized I could make it better by referencing other sites.  Linking my post to other sites enforces the fact that someone else supports my ideas.  The more I know what’s being said out there, the more objective I can be.  A little research goes a long way.

As a matter of fact, the term “blog” was derived from “web log”.  Jorn Barger first used the word “web log” as a way to record URL links to articles that he found interesting on the web.  In a sense, his blog was his research.

Comment

Being able to comment is my only reason to write (and read) blogs.  In the past, I read articles on newspaper, or the web, without a way to immediately comment.  The lack of interaction between author and reader is boring.  A blog without comments will hurt a blogger’s credibility, unless your name is Seth Godin.  For everyone else,  Comments are powerful.  There must be room for discussion.

As a blogger, the responsible thing to do is to be accountable to my readers.  I must answer all of my reader’s questions, remarks, and (especially) criticisms.

Be Nice

I don’t understand why anyone would write a post riddled with profanity.  I’m not against using a cuss word.  A well placed use of it can be an effective writing strategy.  But being prude, crude, and rude does not help a blogger’s image, and it’s down right counter-productive.

Being nice also means being helpful.  I’m not here to just peddle my stuff, or merely shoving my opinion on everyone else.  I’m here to share my experience and expertise.  If everyone’s mission is to help and get along with others, then I can imagine blogging will be so much more fun.

Let’s Be Productive

I’m responsible for my actions.  I have to constantly check my motives to blog.  There has to be a purpose in doing all this writing, day in and day out.

I’m using this chance to create value and be useful.  It’s a better way to use my time.

It’s the responsible thing to do.

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8 Responses to “Responsible Blogging”

  1. Great, thoughtful post.

    Your point about being held accountable is spot on. And blogs live and breath and find their existence in comments.

    That’s why I always find it strange to read blogs where you can’t comment. And I also find it strange to read blogs that don’t link. I can read linkless articles in a magazine or newspaper. And linkless articles usually come across like a wind tunnel: it’s one way.

    Thanks for the link and the support.

    Demian Farnworth´s last blog post..6 Things Joel Osteen Won’t Tell You about Being a Christian

  2. fragileheart says:

    I agree for the most part, but I don’t necessarily blog to be helpful to anyone but myself. Yes, I take my readers into consideration but I won’t stop blogging about something I like just because someone tells me they don’t think its useful either.

    There is a certain amount of accountability, but it has to be a two way street. People have to realise that you are your own person, your blog is your own and therefore the opinions you post are yours and don’t necessarily need to be theirs. Accountability is a very difficult thing to own up to because once you do, no one else takes responsibility for their own actions.

    Take for example what’s happening in Canada right now with drunk driving laws. Hosts of a party, or restaurants and bars are being held accountable for the amount of alcohol they serve to their guests or patrons. I think its ridiculous. People who are old enough to drive should be held accountable for their own actions. Yes, the host or establishment should exercise their duty of care to their guests but placing all the blame on them is unreasonable.

    I’m just saying, while a blogger may have a responsibility to their audience. The audience has the responsibility to have an open mind when browsing around the world wide web.

    fragileheart´s last blog post..Green Tea & the diet

  3. Fragile heart: you’re right. Blogging is a two way street. It’s a give and take. They like you because of your personality, whether your feeding them news, education or stories. If they don’t like you, they go away. If they do, they stay. It’s democratic. That’s the beauty of blogs.

    Demian Farnworth´s last blog post..6 Things Joel Osteen Won’t Tell You about Being a Christian

  4. rudyamid says:

    Hi Reggie,

    It’s interesting that you use the word “blame” in this context. The two words do have similarities, but one is a negative connotation, where the other is positive. I would put it this way:

    Responsibility is a exercising due diligence.

    What I say or do can affect others. If I don’t exercise caution or discretion, my action can bring down (or destroy) others. This is where I’m advocating responsibility. Let’s take your example, if you host a party where you know your guests will drive home drunk, then why serve alcohol at all?

    Yes, we’re all assuming everyone’s smart enough to distinguish the difference between right and wrong. But sometimes we need to be the voice of reason, and do the right thing from the start.

  5. rudyamid says:

    Hey Demian,

    Actually, with these simple rules, I can cut down the noise level in my RSS feeds and daily news intake. What’s good for the spirit, is good for the mind.

  6. Hiya Rudy,

    I have a big problem with bloggers who use foul language in posts, but that’s a personal issue for me. Some well-known bloggers with thousands of subscribers are able to get away with cussing and using crude remarks in posts and comments without any repercussions. They’ve branded themselves this way, and it appears to work for them.

    I will not, under any circumstances, subscribe to a blog that doesn’t allow comments. That includes archived posts. I realize “A-Lister’s” like Seth Godin have a very large following. Good for him, but to me it’s very disappointing to discover a blog post, take the time to read through it, attempt to leave a comment or question and find that comments have been turned off.

    For me personally, subscribing to any blog is not just about reading something and heading off to the next one without any interaction or “community” within a blog or comment section.

    I can read newspapers, books and magazines if I wanted to be talked AT or preached AT. That’s not what I want from a blog, and if I don’t have the option to comment or question a post, I won’t ever go back and I certainly won’t subscribe to more preaching.

  7. rudyamid says:

    Hi Lin,

    Apart from Seth’s, like you I don’t subscribe to a blog that doesn’t allow comments. Also, I’ve made rare exception with a blog that requires me to login for comments (that’s annoying too).

    As for being crude, there’s a limit to how much of that stuff I can read daily. I observed my RSS reading habits. With those who cuss in their blogs, I tend to skim their posts and move on pretty quickly. Eventually I unsubscribed. I’m sure other people like it, good for them. They’re not for me.

  8. To blog is a calling and a vocation at the same time.

    I indeed agree with you fully Rudy that there are alot of bloggers out there that needs to be lectured on the value of “doing homework” and doing it good.

    There will come a time when the government will recognize us as a legitimate alternative media personalities. However the length of that time will depend on how bloggers will conduct themselves versus the publics opinion of us and the truth(or fact) that we bring.

    Thank you for this wonderful resource.

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