Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How about a little meta-blogging?

A little blogging on blogging, in other words.

This doesn't necessarily effect me because I don't "write for" anyone, and no one has ever sent me something to for free to review, but it's worth a mention since it's the first time the general population of bloggers and tweeters have the potential, due to new FTC guidelines, to be significantly fined for not explicitly stating (with a tag or a brief mention within their post) that their comments were paid for with either material goods (free stuff) or monetary compensation from the company or brand that they are promoting or shilling. From Business Week:

For the first time, the revisions specified that bloggers, like mainstream media outlets, are required to disclose any "material connections" they have to a brand or product they write about. What's more, the guides apply to any users of Twitter, , [sic] and other social media sites where people may be paid to pitch goods to friends, according to Rich Cleland, assistant director of the FTC's division of advertising practices.

I am kind of refusing to state any solid position on this, since I can think of a few worst case scenarios that would lead to even more hassle than an individual blogger should have to deal with but also am getting a bit uncomfortable with the FTC and the FCC tightening their grasp on the online community. I believe that imposing these regulations on independent bloggers and tweeters does in some ways legitimize bloggers -- who so frequently come under attack anyway -- and active social media users by recognizing that what they are saying does in fact have an impact on the online community at large, instead of taking the usual popular press and traditional opinion column route of dismissing the blogosphere as complete garbage (okay, so maybe about 99%* of the blogosphere is complete garbage. But that doesn't make the quality 1% any less credible).

I also think that if I happen to ever receive a free service, material good or monetary payment in return for reviewing some one's work that I will probably mention that I received this good somewhere on my blog, mostly because I will be stoked about receiving free stuff. But what if I happen to not mention where I received it at all because it's not relevant to the post? What if I decide not to do a complete review of, say, a book that some one's sent me and instead mention it briefly within a post about my random day? And, what if I end up reviewing the book negatively? I suppose a bad review is at least a review, and I suppose it is still free advertising for the product in question. But still, whatever they are sending me is probably an early copy of the product (a galley or a pre-final-mix version of a CD or a trial product) and has little to no resale value whatsoever, and therefore has no value to be except in taking up space in my shelf, or potentially in my trash can.

*99% statistic from my boyfriend.

1 comment:

Princess Leah said...

And right your boyfriend is!