This thing we do

The ethics thing. What are the ethics of blogging, or in what way are they different from other media platforms, and what are the questions they throw up?

To me, and I know this is no profound insight, the difference is simple: in blogging, there's no editor. You get up and publish whatever the hell you want, whatever length you want, pay no attention to deadlines if you want, etc. There's no editor you have to travel through to get your stuff on air. Publishing has never been so easy.

There's great power in that, and that's some of what makes this thing addictive. But the point about ethics is this: with that power, there's also great responsibility. Whether and how you choose to exercise that responsibility is the question of ethics. I don't know too many other areas of life where the connection (and contrast) between power and responsibility is so clearly set out. And for me, that's the addictive part -- the constant challenge to learn, and define, what responsibility is. How it waltzes with power. And these are very old dilemmas, even if blogging holds them up in new light.

With the pretty formatting tools and so forth that are available to bloggers, it's easy to put your thoughts out in very respectable looking form. The seductively easy thought, then, is that you're shaping opinions simply by virtue of being published. I sense a lot of that in blogs I scan, I sense it in myself. But the truth there is, again, an old one, even if blogging holds it up in new light. Nice Blogger backgrounds notwithstanding, you have to offer quality, you have to build credibility, you have to show substance. Old journalistic virtues.

And if you blog, and if you want to be read and taken seriously -- which I imagine all of us do -- you have to offer quality etc on your own. Because you have no editor.

I am likely going in circles, forgive me, but I'm just reiterating the point. For me, this is the challenge, the addiction, of blogging: making that mark, if I ever do, on my own. The lessons to be learned, on my own, about ethics.

I'm glad for this space. Because in the free and easy space that's blogging, I come across a deal more arrogance than I do introspection. And yet, as more situations like Mediaah's crop up, we will all need to analyse how we go about this blogging thing we do. May this space be one for that analysis.

And now, the soapbox is yours, whoever you are.
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