With the recent questioning of ethics of street style photography, but in a larger realm, the ethics of fashion bloggers, it feels like now is a vital time that as a community, bloggers need to evaluate their future trajectory.
Currently, bloggers are are valuable piece to the fashion industry puzzle — and their influence is growing immensely, ranging anywhere from endorsement deals to designing capsule collections for brands.
And it's kind of amazing; that someone sitting at their laptop in Alabama could potentially build an internet following large enough that he or she could be the face of huge brand's ad campaign one day. But with this immense surge in popularity, is this industry built to last? If people are questioning our ethics now, will it only be amplified as we grow as a community?
How can we make blogging last?
Credibility. Credibility is key to blogging's survival, and if you take a look into the past, a similar situation once happened to journalists:
In 1909, founded as Sigma Delta Chi on DePauw University Campus, Greencastle, Ind., (and now officially named the Society of Professional Journalists), a group of journalists came together to uphold journalism ethics and practices. In 1926 the same group adopted their first journalism Code of Ethics from the American Society of Newspaper Editors, and since have created their own code, in 1973, which has set the precedent for all journalism practice in the United States.
So why did Sigma Delta Chi form their Code of Ethics to begin with? The stated mission is to “promote and defend the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of the press; encourage high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism; and promote and support diversity in journalism.”
While there is no “journalism police” patrolling articles for breeches of this code, most journalists do have editors and larger publications monitoring their work. Bloggers, on the other hand, tend to work for themselves, leaving their ethical practices up to their own gauge — making it all the more important that bloggers understand the importance of their personal credibility.
So what does the future hold?
Magazines were once thought of as a dying breed, but now the more common opinion is that their platforms will simply adopt a more digital presence. As publications, brands, and marketing techniques venture down a digital path, it's safe to say that the general public will only continue to pay attention to bloggers.
While fashion bloggers shouldn't feel like they need identify themselves as journalists, it is important that we uphold ethical integrity. Why? Because our readers are watching.
As the general public pays more attention to the work of bloggers, our ethical practices will only be more scrutinized.
It's plausible, then, to say that blogging might follow a similar trajectory to print journalism when it comes to ethics — and, in a way, looking at the past may be a way to gain foresight into blogging's future.
Do we need a Blogger Code of Ethics to keep our credibility?
In a section of SJP's Code of Ethics, they highlight the essential need to “act independently,” meaning that the writer should act free of conflicts of interest, and should disclose any unavoidable conflicts of interest. Could this, in particular, eventually be at the heart of our Blogger Code of Ethics?
This is our community, we can mold it how we want, but our reputation is only as good as each one of us.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]