There’s been a buzz going around for some weeks now about the formation of the National Bloggers Association. I think that it’s a healthy development because it recognizes that there is a need to safeguard the power new media has.
However, I can’t help but ask: what exactly will this achieve?
As someone who’s handled her fair share of “bad bloggers,” I’ve always believed that there should be a clear distinction between journalists who use new media (and are subject to journalism’s code of ethics), professional bloggers and people who just like expressing themselves via the Internet.
The bottom line for me is accountability. We need to be accountable for what we say, no matter what platform we choose. It’s simply not OK for to spew vitriol all over the internet or badmouth a business and say, “Hey, I don’t have to explain anything. It’s my blog, it’s my space.”
I feel that the FAQ and the manifesto is vague because it’s intended to be inclusive. But its “inclusiveness” works against it. It’s simply not enough to say “blogging community,” because the blogging community is a diverse one and there are those who feel that a policy-building body can be restrictive.
If you blog for professional purposes (i.e. you make money out of it) and are clear about it, you might have a different take on blogging and creating an association of bloggers. There are certain expectations to live up to if you blog professionally. For example, you’re expected to put up posts that aren’t: a) copy-pasted from a press kit or b) a long whining rant of how an event or product sucked juxtaposed with pictures of you partying.
(Pro tip: a coherent, critical review of the event or product could have done the trick and if you happen to do a and/or b, then I’m sorry, you’re not a professional. AT ALL.)
Though I have to admit that my experience in public relations has made me very cautious and jaded in handling bloggers, I will always believe in the Internet’s influence to instigate change. The blogosphere is a chaotic wonderful place and I’d like to see it become better.
But again, what does the National Blogging Association hope to achieve?