“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.” – Albert Schweitzer
What Does It Mean To Be Ethical?
Let’s talk ethics,
As writers, our words are our craft and our craft should be sacred to us.
We should value and respect the power of our words. We should think carefully about what we write and the message that we are trying to convey, as we write it.
As Schweitzer stated above, in order to be an ethical human, we need to appreciate the value of other humans. There needs to be a level of respect for the well-being of others and as well for ourselves, in order to justify our writing as ethical. Above all, there needs to be honesty! Honesty is the most integral part of ethical morality, and without that, everything just kind of falls apart.
- Create original work. We’re all here to share. The beauty of being human is that we each have different strengths and vast amounts of imagination. Try adding to the blogging Universe in a unique way.
- Give credit where credit is due. If you use anybody else’s work on your blog, such as photos or art or writings. Be sure that you respect copyright laws and attribute as necessary, including linking back to the source if possible.
- Share yourself. Share your authentic self with the world without the pretense.
- Remain open-minded. Respect the fact that not all people think alike. Differences of opinion will occur sometimes. If you write about a polarizing topic, prepare that some may have their feathers ruffled. Just make sure it’s important to you.
- Respect human beings. It’s possible to share all opinions while still being respectful of the dignity of others.
- Seek to do no harm. Writing should be about sharing something valuable with the world. No matter what your blog is about. No matter what you’re trying to sell. If you’re a business, this applies to you doubly. Make sure you’re selling something worth people’s time and money.
- Be Honest. Most good that occurs between two people relies on a solid foundation of honest interaction.
- Care about others. If you expect anyone to read your stuff, you have to give a damn about them as well as produce good work. It’s really that simple.
- Respect Boundaries. When interacting with bloggers, do your best to be respectful of what others may find appropriate or inappropriate. If you fear you may have crossed a boundary by mistake, don’t be afraid to make it right.
- Stay Humble. No matter who you are or how big you get, just remember that every person that you interact with has the potential to be just as big or bigger than you one day. You could always lose it all. Protect your humility now, by treating others as equals.
The Do Not’s
- Be Too Vulgar. You may scare away some of your potential audience if you use strong and aggressively vulgar language. A touch here and there may reveal an authenticity, but there’s a point where it begins to turn people away.
- Make Money Your Priority. Whether you’re a business blogger, or a personal blogger. Remember that your priority should be the quality of your product. If you’re a writer, make sure quality writing is your priority. Money can always come in as an afterthought.
- Spread Hate. No one wants to hear bigotry, sexism or racism except for bigots, sexists and racists. If you fall in to one of those 3 categories then this post is not for you. You’re part of the problem.
- Be Self-Centered. Your readers want to feel like part of the family. Find some way to show them that you’re thinking of them as well. Without them, your blog doesn’t matter. You may as well be writing a journal.
- Give Advice That You Haven’t Personally Taken. I remember I had an old post once about how to spice up your coffee. I listed 4 or 5 methods of flavoring your coffee that I had tried, and a few that I hadn’t. I tried one of my suggestions, that I’d not tried before, afterwards and thought it was garbage. I proceeded to delete that “tip” from my post, but not before it was viewed. Your word is everything.
- Spam Others For Followers. Use caution when sharing links via comment, especially back to your blog. If your entire intention of leaving a comment revolves around sharing that link then you are commenting for the wrong reasons.
- Ignore Your Readers. If someone leaves a comment. Interact. You don’t have to say much to be polite. If you don’t care for the interaction with your readers, then why leave your comments open?
- Produce Solely Low Effort Content. One of my favorite bloggers only posts once per week and her blog has over 15,000 followers. More then anything, what people care about is the quality of the material that you produce. If people can find content just like yours, elsewhere, than they will probably go there and they won’t come back.
- Be Afraid. Don’t be afraid to fail. If something doesn’t work out the way you were hoping, then get rid of it and start over. Allow your blog to evolve with you and you can both grow together. Failure is a fundamental part of success.
- Give Up. Never ever give up. There are going to be bumps in the road as you travel this path towards a better blog, but be patient with yourself and try your best to have fun with it. If you’re unsatisfied, re-invent yourself. Believe in your abilities to overcome and to get to where you want to be.
Hopefully this all makes sense to you or has all along! We all slip at times but living an ethical life is an important duty for each and every one of us as social creatures. We all grow progressively when we hold a code of ethics. Destruction, callousness and selfishness only serve to divide and isolate us. That is anti-progress.
Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!