Filed under: Travel diary, travel events | Étiquettes: Blogging ethics, Social Media, Travel Blog Camp
Well, no free booze, no blogging advice, but 70 travel professionals reassembled in a dodgy bar on the riverside called Doggett’s. I didn’t really know what to expect when my colleague Molly and I turned up at Travel Blog camp. But it turned out to be a nice evening, punctuated of animated debates and a few interesting free biz (notably one free Lonely Planet guide and a very cool PocketComms universal language system booklet, very handy when you need to explain that you’ve been bitten by a jelly fish in a foreign country!).
The speeches first. I could tell you all about it but Anthony from Smith Travel blog made a really good resume that you can read here.
I just wanted to highlight the last bit of the conference: Kevin, from Travolution instigated a debate about PR and the travel online community. As you know, I am myself working in Social Media and therefore, I was interested to know how Travel bloggers and member of the Travel community see the fact that PR representatives and companies like mine enter their little spheres. I obviously have preconceived ideas on the subject. I believe some companies can have a very positive impact on Social Media if they have a very humble and ethical approach. It’s a give and take. Companies open themselves to discussions. They listen to what their consumers say which allow them to improve their services, image and reputation and raise their sales figures; as per the consumers, they share opinions, ideas and advice and benefit from their peer’s recommendations. Which leads me to the second part of the debate: Should influential bloggers be bond to the same ethical rules as journalists?
What are these rules?
* Not injecting one’s own opinion into a news story, in other words striving to maintain a neutral point of view, unless the story is clearly labeled as « news analysis » or « commentary »;
* Attributing all alleged facts, not witnessed directly by the reporter, to someone else (« Mr Smith says…. »).
* Writing in a fashion that avoids possible defamation liability by clearly labeling allegations as such (« The defendant allegedly committed the crime »);
* Avoiding the use of misdirection, for example, in television news, by « staging » events that occur within view of the camera, or in news photography, by « doctoring » or altering photographic images;
* Allowing persons who are the subject of adverse news stories a reasonable opportunity to respond to the adverse information before the story is published or broadcast.
(Source: Nation Master Encyclopedia)
What’s the difference in between a blogger and a journalist? They both write on behalf of themselves or a publication. They both give a view or an understanding of an event or a product. They both have an authority in their area of expertise… Someone said journalists are paid for their opinion, and bloggers aren’t, therefore, they should have more freedom when expressing their opinions. Hum… maybe… but I reckon this isn’t about money. It the fact that journalists have an influence and are responsible for the public representation they give of an organisation that they are accountable and I believe influential bloggers (or anyone posting online with a big follow up) should apply the same policy for themselves. But there is no obligation at this stage and there might never be.
The essence of Social Media is that anyone is allowed to say out loud what they think. Let’s face it, you can’t control what each person think and say about you! What you can do is propose a qualitative service, develop a genuine and open dialogue with your audience and more importantly, create a real relationship with your customers and you should develop quickly a positive follow up that will outcome any negative word of mouth. Now am I being naïve?
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