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Ethics in Blogging
I consider blogging an art form, just like painting or photography. Because at its base form, it is writing; an expression of original ideas from an individual or individuals, and should be respected and maintained as such. The blogging world is quite interconnected, and in the realm of reading and reviewing books, we come into contact with tons of ideas and viewpoints from fellow bloggers. The key to navigating this community with integrity can be summed up in one simple word: honesty. First and foremost, we should be honest with our followers. They look to our pages for suggestions and advice on reading and writing books, so we owe it to them to give an honest viewpoint. Not every book we review will have us shouting to the masses in full out fan girl form. While I’m not a proponent of negative or nasty reviews, we can not simply endorse every book as a must read not step on any toes. Your posts can not be respected if they are not honest.
Just important as honesty to your followers, is maintaining a no plagiarism policy. If you pull a book summary from Good Reads to use in a post about a book you are reviewing, give them credit for it, and cite where it came from. There will be tons of times where opinions about similar topics may closely mirror one another, but if you got an idea from something you read from someone else, even if it took you in a modified direction, give credit where credit is due.
If you can make honesty the center on which your blogging universe rotates, a successful, respected blog page will be yours.
I would love to tell you that every time People magazine puts out what the latest, hot non-fiction book happens to be, that I rush to Barnes and Nobles in full culture mode and scoop up the latest copy of 1776 or The Life of Henrietta Lacks so I can follow along in the conversations discussing them on Good Morning America. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read non-fiction books of this nature and enjoyed them. And while I find factual tidbits about Thomas Jefferson’s private life to be extremely interesting, the non-fiction books that appeal to me the most are the ones written by comedians. Ellen Degeneres, Chris Rock, Chelsea Handler, and Jim Gaffigan. These people spin tales of satire about real life issues that apply to each one of us, and give us a chuckle while we pick apart our shared neurosis.