Ethics – A How To Guide For New Bloggers

 My suggested code of ethics for bloggers. Reposted from RaeQuigley.com

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The Internet is a great place to share ideas, opinions, and information. The blogging community has grown tremendously over the last decade, and there’s no shortage of blogs for any topic. These can include personal blogs, professional blogs, entertainment blogs, gardening blogs, and everything in between. While blogging topics may vary, one thing that shouldn’t is a code of ethics. Here is, in my opinion, the most important things to take into consideration while blogging.

I think the first rule should go without saying, but just in case…. No plagiarizing. That goes for words, pictures, and ideas. If you like another person’s idea, contact them. If you like a way someone phrased something, quote him or her and link to where you found their quote. If you want to use a picture, don’t save it to your computer first. Try to import the image with the source link, so that it links back to where you found the image. Saving it to your desktop first makes it seem as though you’re the owner when you’re not. When you are using these images, make sure to credit the owner of the picture with as much information as you can include.

Another rule; don’t post something as fact unless it is undeniably true. As a blogger, it’s important to be honest with your readers, as they trust you to give them accurate information. If anything you post is speculation, say so. Include source links and evidence, especially if posting an exact fact. A great example of this is in regards to celebrity news. Don’t post a picture of two celebrities hanging out and claim they’re dating unless you know this to be true. You could end up in a lot of trouble.

You may have noticed that some larger blogs have sponsored posts. This means that a company or brand has provided a product to a blogger in return for a blog post. Sometimes these products are sent to bloggers for review, and other times they are sent to blogger’s strictly to talk about. If you choose to accept products from sponsors, tell your readers. Also, if you choose to accept products, post your honest opinions only. Readers come to your blog to hear what you think, and they trust you to be honest with them. My suggestion is to keep a disclaimer somewhere on your blog letting readers know that any sponsored post will be marked as such, and that all opinions you post are strictly your own. Your readers rely on you as a blogger to be completely upfront with them, so stick to that at all costs.

About.com has a great article entitled ‘Legal Issues Bloggers Must Understand’ which includes information about copyrights, libel, and even privacy. I’d recommend that bloggers become acquainted with the laws to ensure they’re running their website in a legal way.

Do you have any other ideas that should be included in the Blogging Code of Ethics? Feel free to join in on the conversation in the comments section!

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