The Ugly Side Of Blogging

February 18, 2011

Let’s all agree on one axiom of blogging: The more controversial the headline, the more a post is tweeted and shared — and the more traffic the blog gets.

From headlines of “Seth Godin is dead wrong” to “My deepest secret with Andersen Cooper and Jello” to “Lara Logan Has Two Small Children At Home. Is She Brave Or Irresponsible For Putting Herself In This Kind Of Danger?“, these headlines are designed to grab eyeballs.

The first two headlines? Think of them as a compilation, similar to memoir writing where a character is based on several actual friends. The last headline is “ripped” from HollywoodLife, a site described as “Your Celebrity News, Gossip & Style BFF.”

I somehow stumbled upon this blog while reading articles about the attacks to Lara Logan. Essentially, a mother of four questioned whether Lara Logan should be covering war scenes when she has two young children at home.

Leaving aside the feminist issues (would this question be asked of a male reporter with two small children?), these are the kind of debates that make me cringe in the blogging world. We’re delving into her personal life that should not be relevant to her professional experience. We’re taking our personal experiences and applying them to her circumstances.

Everyone is an expert. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone shares it, whether well-researched or not.

I can’t help, but think that this is the ugly side of blogging (unsolicited opinions on someone’s personal nightmare). Now the next question is whether by hopping into the fray and sharing my opinion and I just providing fuel to the fire? Probably.

There are constant debates about the ethics of blogging stemming from as early as 2001, whether bloggers are held to journalist standards, how to stop cyber bullying, creating a code of conduct. But it doesn’t seem to change the fact that people feel no barriers when discussing headlines, whether it involves a celebrity or a hapless passer-by.

Doesn’t the old axiom of “don’t blog about something you wouldn’t discuss to that person’s face” hold true? Perhaps this idea is small-minded and not indicative of where our society is heading? Perhaps this initial post spurned a host of conversations about the role of a professional mother in the public eye and this conversation was fruitful?

Clearly, I’m torn. Where do you weigh in?