The Last Podcast Opinionated Web 2.0 News and Commentary


30 April 2008 @ 12am


What do I owe you?

Steven Hodson asked an interesting question today: What do I owe my readers? This lead to a number of interesting responses.

Sidenote: What struck me in the responses to Steven’s post was that they often revolved around the meaning of the term ‘blogger.’ Indeed, ‘blogger’ can be a confusing term. I can think of at least three or four different types of bloggers (right now I’m mostly thinking in terms of ‘professionalism,’ but there are lots of other shades as well), all of which have different motivations, expectations and aspirations. While they probably all consider themselves to be bloggers, the term probably ends up being a disservice to all of them. But let’s get back to what I owe you.

I think Steven got it quite right – I basically owe you honesty. I don’t owe you three posts a day and I don’t owe you an opinion on every new meme that pops up. Maybe ‘honesty’ isn’t even the right word – maybe ‘respect’ catches more of what I want to say.

If you take the time to read what I write, then I owe you that I give you my honest opinion – unfiltered by paybacks or other bribes. I can’t help that I don’t know everything, haven’t read everything and might get it wrong sometimes. But if I do, I owe you to correct myself.

Just like Steven – if I’m interested in something, I will write about it.

I do feel I owe you a response when you leave a comment (unless you are disrespectful – then I don’t owe you anything…). If you take the time to write a comment, I owe you a response. If you ask me a question, it’s only respectful of me to answer it. (Update: as Andy rightly points out in the comments – not every comment necessitates a response – I was mostly thinking in terms of questions and comments where the writer wants to engage in a discussion)

I think bloggers, if they take what they do seriously, are participants in an unwritten social contract and that contract is simply based on mutual respect. No more – no less.

That’s why I rile against PayPerPost and similar schemes whenever I get a chance – bloggers who willingly engage in convert marketing campaigns like that simply don’t respect their readers (that doesn’t mean that we can’t get swept up in somebody’s ‘social media campaign’ as well, but I think that’s a separate issue).

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