Blogs, bucks, ethics

Recovered from the Wayback Machine.

Me? Blog for bucks? There is absolutely no way that I would violate the trust of my readers by blogging for money. My readers know that I’ll always be honest with them, and would never sell out for filthy lucre. (By the way, while we’re on the subject of readers, I would like to recommend to you the ultimate in RSS feeds — the Userland RSS feed. It dices, it slices, it purée, why it can even clean Windows. It shoves and crams and punches all your weblog information into one itty bitty easily consumable package. Sm-o-o-o-th. Best of all, topped with crumbled feta cheese and pimento, and baked in the oven for ten minutes, it makes a tasty popover. Serve with a nice chianti.)

Now, where were we…oh yes, getting paid to blog. This may surprise you, but I’m a professional writer. Yes, indeedy. People pay me to write things for them, which shocks the hell out of me on a fairly regular basis. (But not too regular, which is why I’m broke all the time.)

Are you surprised that I’m a professional? Especially with all my typos? Well, if you think that the typos are the result of my inability to spell, and my horrid grammar, think again. It took a team of psychologists days to figure out where to insert each one for maximum effect.

So, are you all endeared to me yet?

Dorothea had some good points, among them:

Freelance writers (and, I should say, some employees) who blog are already accustomed to fitting themselves into the acceptable, the accepted. They’re so used to self-censorship it doesn’t bother them any more.

I’ve never had a problem censoring myself as a writer. In fact, there’s a host, a veritable host of editors who are laughing their heads off right now at the thought of me censoring myself. I’m the only writer at O’Reilly who has had “Opinion” prominently tacked on to an article title just so people won’t assume I’m speaking officially for O’Reilly. Yes, you work at O’Reilly and you piss off Tim, as punishment you’ll be assigned to work with me. (All except my current editor, Simon St. Laurent, of course. Simon is editor on the RDF book because, well, the man likes pain. What can I say.)

Back on topic. AKMA also had some interesting words on all of this. In particular he wrote:

Lesser bloggers, who might the more easily fall for the seductive allure of corporate benefaction, probably ought to make utterly clear their relation to any patrons. In that spirit, I’ll stipulate that I paid for my own hotel room in Denver, and burned all my frequent flyer miles to get to the conference.

But AKMA, you got God. All you have to do is walk along and, Oh, Sh–oot! There’s a bag full of money just lying there. Mercy, mercy. In other businesses this would be called graft, but in religion, it’s known as divine intervention.

Of course, David Weinberger came up with this Blogger Code of UnProfessional Ethics, giving us guidelines as we proceed in this serious business, this blogging. My particular favorite was:

My readers are kind. They make allowances and forgive me ahead of time.

(Yeah, right. And Bugs Bunny and the Brer Rabbit are having torrid sex over in those bushes yonder.)

In response to another nice writeup by Dorothea (“Hot blogger coming through, look out!”) Salo, Steve quipped:

I agree on the process, but I’m not sure it’s always selling out, or losing one’s soul. For me, yes, it would be: I’m an obnoxious anti-DeepPockets windbag. But if you believe in the supreme value of The Company or The Product (what is good for Microsoft is good for Rome), then what ethic are you going against by placing that value above any others? Not believing in universal ethics, I suppose I’d have to say none. Which, then, places the onus of reading the media—of sorting out the swill from the swell—to us, the consumers, the users, the sheep who can’t afford to be sheepish.

My golly folks! First you want my readers to trust me. Then you want my readers to forgive me. Now you want my readers to think!

You’re just asking too much.

This is offtopic, but I’m with Jeneane:

Alright, this needs to be said and I’m going to say it. David and Halley need to add comment capability to their blogs, and RageBoy needs to fix his comments forthwith.

Except I want to add Dorothea and Mark Pilgrim to this list. Jump in, folks. I’ve been assured by David that your readers will be kind.

Hee hee.

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