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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Ethics in Blogging: A Normative Constraint on Excessive Economizing and Power-Aggrandizement

Blogs are interesting creatures. Like humans, they seek not merely self-preservation, but also the expansion of their domain on the internet. The empire-building does not have power-aggrandizement as its goal; rather, bloggers use what power they have to maximize the reach of their words. To be heard by as many people as possible—as if quantity were more important than quality—is a still more intermediate means, with the end being to bring one's words to the world-at-large. At the extreme, a blogger wants to see a world that has become a projection of his or her own words. Less extreme, a blogger wants to be a significant player in societal discussions even beyond the internet. Toward such ends, bloggers economize in the sense of seeking to minimize what they incorporate of other blogs beyond what they view as being useful to themselves, while attempting to maximize that of themselves that is incorporated on other blogs by power or moral suasion. For example, a blogger might say to another blogger, “I’ll blogroll you if you blogroll me.” This is a variant of “I’ll follow you if you follow me” on Twitter. As Susan Gunelius, an expert on blog marketing, observes in Blogging for Dummies, such reciprocity is no longer a normative practice in blogging. Indeed, the “I’ll follow you if you follow me” mentality is questionable at best. It implies that one person follows another not because of any value perceived on the followed’s account, but, rather, solely so he or she can be followed by yet another person. In other words, the apparent reciprocity is actually egoist. 

The full essay is at "Ethics in Blogging."