Thursday, October 22, 2009
According to a recent article published on the ABC news website (Bruns, A. 21/10/09, King Canute's guidelines for bloggers, http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2716500.htm) in America the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) intends to crack down on bloggers who promote goods in return for cash or benefits. The article goes on to argue that it is impossible to regulate all of the vast amount of posts in the blogosphere, and that even if it were possible, the majority of blog followers wouldn't be interested in hearing about the sanctions imposed anyway. This is an interesting debate as I have touched previously on the ethics of blogging and advertising posts on sites such as Twitter. In the past I have stated that I feel any paid advertising on such sites would not be overt and thus could potentially be misleading to those who are not particularly media-savvy, i.e. tweens and teens. I am still of this opinion, however I do recognise that it is impractical for one single organisation to enforce regulations on the entire blogosphere. Rather, I believe it is the responsibility of individual bloggers to adhere to their own ethical code when posting. For example, I would feel pretty bad walking up to a 10 year old and telling them that a certain product is fantastic and watching them spend all their pocket money on something that I personally believed was awful. That is my own moral code and, as far as I'm concerned, if I wouldn't behave in such a way in real life why should I alter my conduct in cyberspace? The end results are just the same, even if the impact is not as visible when sitting behind a computer. No amount of formal regulation can possibly eradicate this practise, it is up to individual bloggers to think hard before they post and listen to their conscience before praising a product they have little faith in.