May 31, 2013

Armchair BEA Day 4: Ethics & Non-Fiction

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Welcome back to Armchair BEA! If you're not sure what it's all about be sure to visit the Armchair BEA headquarters.

After a fun-filled day of giveaway hops, we're back at the serious business with a discussion on ethics in blogging. Blogging (and doing anything on the web really) can be a risky business. You have to know the rules and agree to play by them in order to be taken seriously and keep out of trouble. Some simple rules of thumb are:

  1. Ask permission. If you didn't create it and the creator hasn't already given full permission for something to be used, then ask. It is their creation and therefore they have rights over how and when it can be used for any purpose.
  2. Credit the source! I don't care if it's a picture, an article, a quote, or something else entirely, be sure to give credit to where you found it. Pinterest has gotten into a lot of trouble recently for having misguided pins (the links didn't go to the original source) and for allowing users to pin anything from any site. I recently discovered that the reason some of my posts were so heavily trafficked is because they were pinned by readers. (To see if your blog is being pinned, check out these instructions from Mashable)
  3. Be yourself and be respectful. No one will want to read your hard work if you aren't respectful. I'm not saying you can't defend your position or yourself, but meeting challenges and questions with respect will get you along a lot farther.
  4. Take baby steps. No one jumps in knowing everything they need to in order to run a successful blog. Take your time to really set yourself up for success. I didn't immediately start tweeting and I still don't have a Facebook page, but that's fine by me. What I have works and that's all that matters.
There have been some pretty nasty blowups over the last year in blogging due to plagiarism and not citing sources. I think some of them went over better (where the person took responsibility, apologized, and we all moved forward) than others (when there was a huge fallout creating rifts in our community). What I really want to stress to everyone reading is that we all make mistakes. It's how you choose to fix those mistakes that really matters. If you want some good ideas on how to react to plagiarism, be sure to read Parajunkee's post on the subject. She's also got a good one about copyrighted images and artwork.

I am far from perfect. I know that in the past I used images that I just found online or clipart, but I made sure fix the situation once I learned that even that was a no-no. If anyone ever finds any that I missed, please be sure to inform me so I can correct the situation. In short, do your research, be authentic, and try to keep the fun in it!

The genre discussion for today is non-fiction. As I stated on Wednesday, I mainly read Young Adult books. Occasionally I will read a non-fiction book or two, but that's about it. Since I read so much for the blog, I don't necessarily have time for books that I don't think would interest my readers. I will say though that when I do read non-fiction I prefer memoirs, pop culture-based materials, & health books. From The Hiding Place to Finding Serenity (that last one is about Joss Whedon's fabulous space cowboy tv show "Firefly" and it's movie followup "Serenity") I prefer a diverse set of non-fiction books that still allow me to feel like I'm enjoying my reading, whether it's for fun or educational purposes.

What do you think about blogging ethics & non-fiction books?


Alexia561 said...

Excellent guidelines! I can't understand why anyone would knowingly steal reviews, but it does happen every now and again. Hopefully, we've all learned what's right and wrong and it will never happen again.

Becca Lostinbooks said...

I like the way you stated your guidelines. Easy to understand and concise, which is exactly what is needed to get through to people! Great post.

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

My favorite non-fiction is history and memoirs!