Monday, 30 March 2009

My Blogging Code of Ethics

Well it would seem that my last post was more inflammatory than I thought. I guess I’ll have to develop a thicker skin.

A good friend of mine guessed who the ex-wife I referred to was, and ticked her off via text for refusing to come to my wedding party. Another was upset to find our misunderstanding labelled as a ‘fall out’ and emailed to tell me so. It was the first email I read on my return from honeymoon and cast a small shadow over my homecoming.

Note that with both the friends/aquaintances I referred to I didn’t actually say anything bad about them. They are/were friends after all.

You know, when I’m writing a blog post I don’t consider who may end up reading it. I enjoy the no-holds-barred honesty and freedom of expression that is the Blogger’s prerogative. 

However, before posting a blog I do have a quick read through and check that I’ve followed my own Blogging Code of Ethics:

  • Don’t write anything about any person, institution or business that I wouldn’t say to their face

  • Don’t disclose the names of anyone I have written about in less-than-glowing terms

  • Don’t slag off friends or aquaintances (which ties in with the first point, natch). N.B. this still gives me some leeway to have a bit of a whinge occasionally!  

As Anton, one of my ‘bestest buddies’, remarked “blogging about people you know, who may end up reading your blogpost, is an issue for our times. Where do you draw the line? Should you censor what you write? It’s a topical debate. You’ve just got to blog about it.” So, please join this zeitgeisty conversation and leave a comment to let me know what you think.

We are all creatures with fragile egos and faulty perceptions, craving love and positive attention. Clearly, there’s no way I can write about my life, my feelings, my gripes and my pleasures without unintentionally offending someone along the way.

Maybe I should have two blogs. I could turn this one into a Pollyanna version and create a new 'Part Mummy Part Me Uncut' version available only to strangers where I can break free from my self-imposed restrictions and dish the dirt like Dooce. It worked for her. It made her famous.

To those readers, past and present, who I accidentally offend/upset I offer my apologies, and my pledge to continue to uphold my Blogging Code of Ethics. That’s the best I can do. 

If I continue to offend/upset any of you, I respectfully suggest that you stop reading this blog.

I wonder if any of you fellow bloggers have protected your blog from being read by friends and family? If not, have you had similar situations where one of your posts has caused upset, misunderstanding, offence or had an unforeseen consequence?

Do you self-censor what you write or do you write what you want and resolve to face the music afterwards? Have you got your own Blogging Code of Ethics – and what do you think of mine? Do tell...


Bear said...

OMG you just made that up!
I never said that. I said "sod em", people love this stuff and it is interesting to read so write about it. If they get upset its their lookout.
Ok maybe your version was better after all.

Kabbalah Rookie said...

My sister is the only member of my family who knows that my blog exists. I resist from using names, using aliases at most opportunities (unless I am praising). I don't edit my thoughts and comfort myself with the fact that so few people are actually reading my posts!
I don't think I could cope with too many people I know actually reading my blog though, save the ones I trust. Very tricky!

Millennium Housewife said...

All names are changed and a lot is made up!

Part Mummy Part Me said...

Ok,Anton, you've rumbled me. I do rewrite reality a little/make stuff up for a more interesting read...

Metropolitan Mum said...

Well, if someone upsets me by their behaviour, they have to be aware that I will most likely not offer my other cheek, but at least air my frustration. I believe in 'what goes around comes around' and that you get what you ask for.
Most of my friends know about the blog, so I try to apply the 'to their face rule' with every post. I used to write on another platform using a pseudonym, feeling way to safe. And had to go into hiding when someone found me by chance. My relationship at this time almost didn't survive it, very ugly...

PS: Congratulations to being Mrs Mummy! I am still hoping for a post from cloud #9 :-)

Anonymous said...

My blog isn't read by anyone I know. As far as I'm aware, although my circumstances are relatively unusual, so if an acquaintance did happen upon some of my posts, it would definitely ring a bell or two.

You keep going - sod the rest of 'em!

Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I've written completely innocent posts before and someone has been offended, I've recieved the occasional harsh comment when I was simpy writing about a light-hearted subject. You can't please everyone I suppose.

Iota said...

I protect myself with anonymity. There is only one friend here who knows that I blog. Friends and family in the UK read my blog, and just occasionally I wish they didn't, as I'd like to say something that could offend.

My own blogging code is like yours. I don't say anything that I wouldn't say to someone's face (where I'd have the opportunity to nuance it properly, and give it context).

If I'm in doubt about something, I don't write it, on the basis that there's so much material that I'd like to write, why pick something that might cause trouble?

I once wrote a post about 2 local businesses. I did hesitate, but my comments were very very tame, so I published. Both left comments, several months after the event. I'd offended one; the other thought it was fun. But it taught me a lesson - people google all kinds of stuff, and even ages after you've written something, it's still out there.