The Key To Your Blog’s Survival: Credibility

blogging community

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]

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6 Responses

  1. Molen

    I think we need a code of ethic to support credibility. And always has a trust source to support the content of the blog.

  2. Ashley Garner

    I absolutely love that you brought this issue up. I have also been following the articles and scrutiny the blogging community has been getting for a lack of professionalism and the fact that literally anyone can do it. Although you do have the ability to enter the public eye through a blog that has little to no writing the blogs that do include it are getting a great amount of attention from the fashion industry such as Susie Bubble and Garance Dore. I find it a bit ridiculous that people look at bloggers and at the end of the day leave them with the title as blogger even though they may also be photographers, editors, retouchers, designers, stylists, journalists, and many more things simply in order to maintain their blog to the level of quality that they want. Those that take their blogging seriously and hope to use it as a stepping stone into a career need to realize that it is essential that the quality of their blog is a significant factor in their choice of content. If your going to make a personal opinion on your blog about a larger issue then do the research and pull quotes. You will look serious, professional, and that you have a well-rounded opinion. The same goes for your photos. Look at what you like and as I have been told many a-times in art school “Good artists imitate, great artists steal.” Copy what you like and then make it your own. This is something that takes time and should not be expected to come to you immediately, that is definitely something that I have battled within my own blog. Practice practice practice.

  3. moiminnie

    As someone already pointed out, it’s so great that you brought this up! So many bloggers are selling out and looking everyday less and less like the bloggers they once have been. Those who maintained the thinking, the writing, the photos that they had in the beginning (with small changes) and stayed true to themselves are really people worth following.

  4. petite

    I think bloggers should adhere to the same journalism ethics as print and digital media. As someone who is a writer by day, I make sure I employ the same code of conduct both as a professional writer and and a blogger.

    While I make my own GIFs and generally photograph the images myself and use all my own products, where I’ve used other people’s images for celeb style posts I make sure I properly credit the source.

  5. Shop in Cedar Hill

    Love this article. As a “new kid”on the block, I’m still learning. So I think I’ll start to ponder these questions. I know I’m going to be more careful about who I give good exposure. (I choose not to get bad exposure unless its excruciatingly BAD). Well written post. Kudos!

  6. Lauren

    Thanks for the article! Good stuff.

    It drives me crazy when bloggers with large followings do really cheesy giveaways. We’re talking $35 hideous shoes that I know the blogger wouldn’t be caught dead in. And it makes me think they get drawn in by perks or getting paid that they’re willing to promote a brand that ironically, degrades their own personal brand. I’m a new blogger (going on 3 months) and have promised myself that I won’t ever do a giveaway or promote a brand that I don’t really, truly love.