Blogging snafu shows division in blog camps

April 11, 2006 – 8:07 am

by Darren

A recent blowup concerning George Clooney appearing on Ariana Huffington’s weblog has become a subject of debate concerning the nature of blogs. The crux of the debate centered on whether Clooney did or did not write the postings. He did not, and wasn’t happy for the attribution, and neither were blog purists.

In some ways, this debate is central to all online endeavors these days. People have a tendency to assume that the information they read is accurate, or at least has in some way been checked for errors. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. The amount of information made available on websites that is blatantly inaccurate or misleading is incredible. Much of the work is just slipshod, but a lot of it is intentional balderdash bolted together by marketing people.

What laws really apply to the world of blogging? Certainly old-school laws can be applied to cases of blogging, but are they adequate? At the current time, it’s safe to say that there is a very low level of integrity in the information offered on blogs, and there is very little recourse against the bloggers who post bad info. If you add in all of the pages that are machine generated “splogs”, you’ll quickly see that there is a looming problem of credibility in the blogosphere.

The answer, of course, is to have integrity in your own blogging.  A worldwide cleanup is not imminent.  It’s up to individual bloggers to maintain their own standards, and to encourage others to maintain high standards as well.  The sites that maintain high standards will be rewarded in a great number of ways.  If you wrote the article about George Clooney: say it.  If it’s an edited piece, let people know.  As issues like this one rise to the surface, the clamor for increased professional practices will undoubtedly rise.  The best best is to be in compliance long before it’s in fashion to do so.

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