Blogging Code of Ethics

Due to some recent new around fake blogs – such as the one setup for Wal*Mart by Edelman PR – some are working on creating a code of ethics for blogging. Michael Arrington discusses the issue:

“Mainstream media defines journalistic integrity as a lack of financial interest in the subject matter of their reporting. I think integrity goes far beyond financial interests; in our subjective world conflicts of interest are nearly impossible to define around money alone.”

A roundtable on the issue of social media ethics resulted in these key points (from Chris Heuer):

  • I started off the conversation talking about this era needing to embrace the 3 T’s (as opposed to the old focus on the 3 C’s) which are Transparency, Truth and Trust
  • There are a lot of grey areas so absolute rules are hard to come by here, we should strive for greater understanding of best practices (which is the purpose of Social Media Club)
  • Disclosure is somewhat situational in nature and will vary by geography and culture
  • The biggest issue is seemingly one of media literacy amongst media consumers as much as it is an issue for those producing media
  • Everyone is biased in some way, journalists are not immune as we are all human – bloggers need more appreciation of how they can be influenced
  • We all get free drinks from time to time (including everyone who attended tonight) but that usually is not enough to be bought
  • We need to find a great and easy to understand metaphor/story about what is ok and what is not ok
  • We have more to figure out and map than one discussion could allow”