When I went to sign up for today’s topics, this one popped out at me. Partially because no one else had tackled this subject, but also the idea of ethics and professionalism appeal to me. It’s very important, I think, to remember that even while we’re doing this for ourselves, we’re not alone in this vast Internet void.
Yes, we’re just bloggers. Yes, we get looked down upon by the “professional” media. No, we’re not paid (most of us). And no, we’re technically not professionals. But, that said, here are five good reasons why we should act professionally.
1. Because we’re not alone: when I first started blogging, I figured I’d just be putting it out there for myself and maybe a few friends and family. I never dreamed I’d have readers. I’m sure those starting blogs today aren’t that naive, but still. It’s good to remember that there are people following what you say. And, as a result, you should be professional about what you write. That’s not to say you can’t talk about your family, your kids, your life outside of books… but, there is a line that you should. not. cross. There is such a thing as too much information. (That’s not to say you can’t be chatty, you can. Just don’t be crude.)
2. Because a blog can lead to something more: think of it not just as a hobby, but a part-time volunteer job. It can go on resumes. It can be used to springboard into something else. It doesn’t have to, but make sure that your blog is some place you would be proud to show to a stranger.
3. Because we’re all adults (mostly) here: disagreements: fine. We all disagree. There are issues that need to be discussed. But name-calling, back-biting, dissing, whatever you want to call it… is not. acceptable. It’s okay to be honest. But be nice about being honest. And that goes for the comments, too.
4. Because no one likes a liar: This goes for the ethical side of things. My personal policy is: if I don’t intend to (eventually) review it, I don’t accept it. Which is why I’ve been trying to slow down accepting ARCs. I’m finding I can’t get to as many as I once did, or I’m not as interested in getting to them. But, whatever the reason is: if I accept a review copy, I feel obligated to read it. That may not be your policy. But, whatever your policy is, state it, and then stick by it.
5. Because the world is a happier place when we’re all acting like professionals and are ethical in our dealings with each other. Enough said.