PR Campaigns – The blog

October 24, 2008

Should company blogging have rules?

Filed under: ABC PR — brittz87 @ 10:27 am
Tags: , ,

When we first started blogging for this class I wondered to myself if there were any type of rules or codes that I had to follow when blogging. Well this week one of my friends told me that the company he interns for asked  him to write and comment on particular  blogs. The interesting thing about this, is they told him to write the blog as if he was an authority on the issue that he was blogging about. He was so disturbed by this that he went to one of his professors and asked what he should do. Clearly this is an ethical dilemma, but when someone is cutting your checks do you challenge their assignment? Do you think blogging is a big enough deal to have an ehtics code? I did a little research and came across this article that not only gives specific examples of ethical/unethical blogging scenarios, but also rules for bloggers to adhere to. Rule number one is, “I will tell the truth.” I personally believe that PR professionals should take blogging rules just as seriously as they would the PRSA code of ethics, no matter what position they hold with a company. Usually if you don’t have a good feeling about something, you shouldn’t be doing it.

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12 Comments »

  1. I am not sure if blogging needs it own personal code of ethics. Although I do think the public relations code of ethics need and amendment to cover blogging. I think that a lot of PR professionals abuse this new form of media. I do not think PR professionals should deceive readers and consumers by blogging without disclosing that they are a PR professional. I that is unethical and the PR code of ethics needs to be changed to include how PR professional should treat blogging when blogging in a work capacity.

    Comment by erikanp2004 — October 25, 2008 @ 4:45 pm | Reply

  2. I don’t really think it would make a bit of difference if bloggers were asked to follow a set code of ethics. Not many would. It seems to me that most bloggers use the medium to tout their knowledge or exceptionally deep thought on whatever subject they are writing on. A code of ethics is intended to add credibility to a source and I personally take most blogs with a grain of salt. Blogging in meant to elicit conversation…It’s all opinion and personal views.

    Comment by asbrooks04 — October 26, 2008 @ 9:50 am | Reply

  3. I think it would be ideal for bloggers to adhere to a code of ethics. Although many legitimate bloggers probably already follow many of these rules, there are a great deal of bloggers in cyberspace that are less likely to acknowledge them. Today anyone can be a blogger and it’s important that readers understand the difference between blogs and other credible news sources. Blogs are opinion-based and they work to generate buzz and circulate information. I think a code of ethics for blogs would make postings more credible, yet it’s difficult to distinguish who is actually abiding by them and who isn’t.

    Comment by marialinda17 — October 27, 2008 @ 11:59 am | Reply

  4. I think that for professional companies, a blogging code of ethics should be followed. Sure, it would be nice if we could take all blogs as truth, but I don’t think this will ever be the case. People need to do what they feel is right. Don’t be a sucker and read blogs at your own risk.

    Comment by davemerenda — October 27, 2008 @ 11:15 pm | Reply

  5. I think that for no matter what form of media or communication that reaches hundreds, thousands, or millions of people there needs to be a code of ethics. If you are writing a blog you can not pretend to be a professional when really you have no idea what you are talking about. It’s just wrong. There are people out there that are reading your blog and trusting what you say, but you are just completely lying and that should not be accepted. You need to make sure that the information you are putting out there is accurate to the best of your knowledge. However, you also have to take into account if you believe that bloggers are journalists, or professionals in this industry…

    Comment by dfishfel — October 28, 2008 @ 10:25 am | Reply

  6. The idea of a code of ethics for bloggers is nice, and it would the the utopia of the blogosphere. Unfortunately, there is no way to enforce a code of ethics. Not only do bloggers have no consequences for the things they may post, the sheer number of blogs in the world would be impossible to track. I think blogs mainly need to be run by each person’s personal ethics–and maybe those are what need to be taught and ingrained in people to begin with. For new bloggers, a good rule of thumb would be to research the codes of ethics for journalists and PR professionals, and use them as guidelines for putting information out into the universe.

    Comment by kakeane — October 28, 2008 @ 11:47 am | Reply

  7. Since there are so many other people besides PR professionals blogging, it would be hard to set a code of ethics and enforce it. I think that PR professionals who blog adhere to their own code of ethics. So telling the truth and doing research should always be done by professionals. There are so many other blogs out there though that may come off as looking credible. So readers need to take it upon themselves to do the proper research before taking anything as fact.

    Comment by mekelly1 — October 28, 2008 @ 11:53 am | Reply

  8. I think that people are somewhat sidestepping this issue by saying that no one will adhere to a code of ethics about blogging. It is true that codes of ethics for professions don’t necessarily have consequences like jail time or being disbarred, however that doesn’t mean that they are not useful. Just the fact that PRSA has a code of ethics that is highly looked upon and endorsed shows that it holds weight with people in and out of the field. I think it needs to have an amendment like erikap2004 said. It would only be relevant for those in the PR industry, and then when someone does do something like what was referenced in the blog it can be labeled unethical. Yes people read blogs with a grain of salt, but don’t we read news stories with a grain of salt? So, maybe reading blogs needs two grains, but still people read them and are affected by them. A company falsely posting comments, may be found out and completely discredited for doing so, and the lowly intern whose task it was will have a tarnished reputation. I think having blogging rules shows that you care about honesty and hopefully you do.

    Comment by agilliam — October 28, 2008 @ 1:00 pm | Reply

  9. I think that asking bloggers to abide by a special code of ethics is pretty much a lost cause. The internet is a big place and it is hard to enforce a rule on such a broad area of the blogosphere. I think that common courtesy should be the norm and of course some people will not abide by that but there isn’t much you can do at that point!

    Comment by lbridge — October 28, 2008 @ 2:25 pm | Reply

  10. This is something I have thought about plenty when I’ve read new blogs. I often wonder if the blogs from a company are really just strategically placed blogs from their PR officer. Just like letters to the editor in newspapers, I fear that when I am reading a blog or even a blog comment about a company or product, it is nothing more than someone doing crisis management or attempting some gorilla marketing. I think everyone should be skeptical about what they read on blogs and should take the time to get to know a blog before they believe everything it spits out.

    Comment by trentonhorne — October 28, 2008 @ 2:27 pm | Reply

  11. I agree that bloggers, especially pr bloggers or company bloggers, should have a set of ethical standards equivalent to the PRSA code. If bloggers are not held to a code of ethics then how can we trust what they blog about. The first rule was to tell the truth, this is very important. If bloggers want to be taken seriously then they need to be ethically sound and build trust with their readers. PR professionals already have to battle the stigma of spinning truth to benefit their clients, so why would they want to further inhibit themselves by blogging unethically.

    Comment by amyfoley1975 — October 28, 2008 @ 2:54 pm | Reply

  12. When a person is blogging for a company or organization, I think the idea of telling the truth is one that needs to be of prominent importance. There definitely needs to exist a blogging code of ethics, because it is a type of journalism and thus should not offend or disobey ethical rules. Without some sort of ethical code attached to it, blogging would not be deemed credible in any way and would lose alot of its value overall.

    Comment by cate415 — October 30, 2008 @ 9:25 am | Reply


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