Blogger Code of Ethics

February 17, 2011

Should Bloggers follow a professional code of ethics?

Since its beginning the internet has been a place with few regulations. Anyone could put any content they pleased for the most part. This is the allure of the internet. Instead of having to go to media outlets to get content I, the citizen, can now be the publisher of the content and today especially I can publish my content with the greatest of ease.

With more and more people publishing content via the internet, I think we have no choice but to set a code of ethics for social media professionals as well as define who is a professional. Many would think this will lead to censorship, but I believe it will lead to a higher credibility for bloggers that do follow certain ethical practices. Part of the reason we as consumers view a publication like the New York Times as being so reliable is that there is an established code of ethics that professional journalists follow and we know the information in that newspaper is being given to us following these ethics. If we as bloggers and social media practitioners want to look at ourselves as professionals shouldn’t we have a code we follow as well?

Blogging Professionals

Many well known bloggers today are moving toward some sort of set rules and standards. In an article from the New York Times called, “A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs” reporter Brad Stone discusses this issue with author Tim O’Reilly, credited with coining the term Web 2.0, and Jimmy Wales creator of Wikipedia.  Both agree that there needs to be a move towards regulation and standards for the blog world. They have proposed a system of “badges” that would correspond to a certain set of ethics. Posting the badge on your blog would let the reader know what code of ethics that blogger follows.


The problem I see occurring is the lack of unity between bloggers. Bloggers aren’t as united under the term blogger as journalists are under the term journalist. There a millions of people blogging now and blogs cover an extremely wide range of topics. To come up with a set of ethics that the majority would agree upon seems highly difficult. Despite the fact that I do not think it will be easy to draft ethics that all professional bloggers follow, I do think their needs to start being discussion on the topic.

Do you think there should be a defined code of ethics for professional bloggers? What do you think should be included in this code?

Click here to join the discussion with Tim O’Reilly and Jimmy Wales!


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