In this age of change and controversy, I implore my fellow bloggers to be responsible in your content. If you are a blogger then you know a little secret that we all share… the content is pure opinion. We may be held up as experts by others but we are not bound by any journalistic integrity or even required to blog in a truthful manner.
As a blogger, I get the importance of viral content. Clicks equal money. Content that inflames, shocks or terrifies has a better chance of going viral than something positive. I get it. But I also get social responsibility, something I think too many of my fellow bloggers have forgotten.
Since we have no moral over sight body in the blogsphere, I thought I might play Jiminy Cricket today. When we create or parrot untrue stories and hysterical rhetoric, we hurt people. We, more than official news organizations, shape public opinion via social media. That public opinion shapes policies as well as behavior. In extreme cases we have The South Carolina murders. I hear people say “How did they get so radicalized?” The answer is simple, we did it…bloggers. At the very least, we contributed to the environment in which that kind of hate could fester.
We are certainly allowed to have an opinion. After all, blogs are opinion blogs. The gray area is selecting opinions that we know are controversial just for clicks. We get into trouble when we espouse things we know to be true solely for traffic. And we hurt other when we fail to consider the fall out from the things we post. In effect, we shout “Fire” in a crowded theater. It isn’t right.
My plea is this.. stick to your guns BUT, ensure that they really are your guns and not simply the flavor of the week. Be careful with the current issues of gay marriage and the Confederate flag. Let your conscience, not your checkbook be your guide in blogging. People are listening.