There comes a time in (almost) everyone’s life when we stop thinking only of ourselves and begin to wonder if we’re leaving this world a better place.  For some, this happens early in life.  For others, it may be on their death bed.

I don’t remember exactly when I began thinking about this, but it’s been on my mind for many years.

When I started blogging, I thought, “What contribution can I make to the world wide web?”.

And I wonder, “Will I leave it a better place than I found it?”.

I hope so.

Today’s Lesson

It was either when I interviewed Lorelle VanFossen, or in another post she wrote, she said something that stuck with me; “Blog responsibly.”

Knowing “blog responsibly” can take on different meanings, I came up with my own.

To me, blogging responsibly is:

    1) Posting articles that will benefit others today, as well as years from now.
    2) Teaching others to think for themselves which will hopefully make them smarter consumers and/or bloggers.
    3) Showing respect to other bloggers; remembering each blog is like a home in cyberspace and treating others just as I would if I visited their home.
    4) Remembering to say “Thank you”, “You’re welcome”, “Great job” and/or to show encouragement to others just as I would to family and friends.
    5) Posting accurate information.
    6) Not gaming the “system”.
    7) Listening to others share their thoughts, openly and freely, without passing judgment.

On that note, the floor is yours.

Today’s Assignment

Do you feel, as bloggers, we have a responsibility to blogosphere?

If so, what do you feel our responsibility is?

If not, why?

Please feel free to share your thoughts.


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  1. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    Hello again 🙂
    If you take the time to respect yourself you will naturally in turn respect others.
    It’s difficult to isolate an event at any one time……….what I’m trying to express here is that blogging is part of a bigger picture…………..culture, experience etc.
    How each individual interprets responsiblity is going to differ based on how they filter and define information.

    Like in any social network people will naturally be drawn to like minded people to enable them to confirm all that they believe to be true. That sub culture then will define their own rules.

    At the end of the day blogging is no different from having a yarn with a total stranger! You don’t over think it and do what comes naturally. It’s a human experience that may or may not leave a lasting impression.

    Best wishes
    I enjoy your blog!

    Ribbon´s last blog post..

  2. Chase MarchNo Gravatar says:

    I believe that we do have a responsibility on the world wide web. Unlike, the real world where our words fade away, they can linger around in cyberspace forever. We need to think of this every time we hit publish.

    I believe that bloggers need to be honest first and foremost. We should so some fact checking, proofreading, and a spell check before we publish anything.

    I also believe that we should continue to model the proper use of language by writing in sentences with correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization.

    That’s my two cents on this topic.

    Chase March´s last blog post..Sick Days

  3. Avani-MehtaNo Gravatar says:

    I write on personal development. Someone somewhere might be heeding to my advice and making changes in his/her life. To write responsibly hence is the right thing to do.

    Had I been just a blogger, writing about my life and thoughts, voicing my opinions (I guess the term is personal blogger), the feeling of writing responsibly might not be so much. I would be writing for myself and my people, if others read, they have to understand that everything on a personal blog is personal and no one is giving them any kind of advice.

    Avani-Mehta´s last blog post..How To Create Lasting Relationships

  4. Thanks for raising further awareness about this, Barbara. It seems as though more and more people are becoming aware of their vast impact on humanity as a whole. This list reminds me a lot of Steve Pavlina’s framework. He really aims to write articles that are timeless which will still be as applicable in 2095 as they are today. Of course, it helps that he’s writing about a pretty timeless topic: personal growth.

    In many ways, I see the blog revolution as the first dose of truth “media” has had in centuries. Now that people ARE becoming the media, and many sites are run by individuals, there’s much greater push to be honest and more oriented towards service.

    Of course, this all may be a reflection of the world becoming more enlightened in this strange age. In any case, I’m so glad to be alive at this time!

    Byteful Traveller´s last blog post..Find Nemo at Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium

  5. I think there is no inherent responsibility – as animals I don’t believe we have an innate sense of responsibility beyond better things for ourselves. I do believe that we can choose to act responsibly and by doing so we make the world and the blogosphere a better place.

    Alex Fayle | Someday Syndrome´s last blog post..Girls Aloud give us all a kick in the pants

  6. LingNo Gravatar says:

    There’s often a big debate about whether or not bloggers should be held up to the same standards as journalists. That’s actually an unfair comparison, because journalists in big magazines work under strict rules and guidelines.

    The blogosphere is essentailly a lawless zone. And the only way it works is if everyone does the right thing – respect copyrights, don’t slander and be objective – without being policed. Guess what I’m saying is that you live up to your own standards, and hope its good enough for the blogosphere.

  7. I thought I was going to be the first person to say we have no inherent responsibility, but some people beat me to it. 🙂

    While I certainly appreciate people who are making a contribution to the blogosphere, some people might make their contributions in other areas, and not think of their blog that way.

    I guess one could argue that people have no inherent responsibility to make any contribution at all with their life, but that seems pretty empty to me.

    Even if we’re not obligated, I think it can be a good exercise to decide what “blogging responsibly” means to us.

    Hunter Nuttall´s last blog post..Features Vs. Benefits Deathmatch

  8. LoriNo Gravatar says:

    Blogging reflects hearts, minds, and emotions. Some people will feel responsible, some will want to vent at all cost, some will expose the under belly of their lives — there’s no limit to self expression.
    Someday, blogs will be reviewed, rated, and categorized so the more trustworthy and responsible blog writers can be found. Until then, blogs like this will have to be an initial guide to finding them.

  9. EvitaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara!

    Absolutely I think we do have a responsibility as bloggers, but not in that forced kind of way (no laws, or rules) but in a human-global consciousness kind of way.

    You are so right when you ask if we will leave this place better or worse. Although I do encourage people to express themselves freely, freely that is based on the highest version of you. And when we come from that deeper place of us within, there is no way to act but lovingly and compassionately.

    So although we are all free to post whatever we want and act however we want on our blog, many of us as you say at some point in our lives start thinking globally not individually.

    I am happy to say that your topic today is one of the biggest reasons too why I wanted to blog, especially on the health front as I feel there is so much misinformation today and it is not serving anyone. Also I always encourage my readers to think for themselves, as that is the most powerful tool we have to discern reality with, not just take the ideas of others and run with them. We have been there, done that and have proven it just doesn’t serve us.

    So thank you for this wonderful and thought provoking post!

    Evita´s last blog post..SkyWatch Friday – Sky Moments

  10. I think we set our own guidelines just as you did in the post. A person’s character, integrity, and values would be the basis for setting them. Personally, my views on blogging responsibly would be very similar to yours, especially the part about writing content that will benefit others years from now.

    Broderick Allen´s last blog post..Sowing and Reaping

  11. MarelisaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara: I definitely think that bloggers have a great responsibility. Every time you hit the “publish” button you’re putting out a message that could potentially reach millions. Like Steve Pavlina wrote in one of his posts, you should always ask yourself: “If I were standing in front of an audience of a million people, what would I say to them?”.

  12. My blog’s responsibility is walking my talk. I talk on my blog. I use the talk to correct my walk. Actually my blog is the tool for me to help me walking a better walk. 😉
    I use my blog to better walk my parenting walk.
    I use my blog to better walk my blogging walk.
    I use my blog to better walk my leadership walk.
    I use my blog to better walk my time-management walk.
    I use my blog to better walk my …. there are few more 😉

  13. LorelleNo Gravatar says:

    You always bring out the best in people! This is a great one. It has long been my mantra to get people to understand that blogging is a conscious decision, so why not blog consciously, and responsibly, taking your blog seriously, as seriously as you do other things in your life.

    As Alik said, use your blog to walk the talk and talk the walk. 😀

  14. TracyNo Gravatar says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what I consider a reasonable code for myself. A lot of my blogging is humor, so it does tend to push right up against the limits at time. I do think people realize I do it for effect, so I am comfortable saying things that I wouldn’t if I were writing seriously.

    At the same time, I do try my best to be a responsible goofball, if such a thing makes sense. I think my overriding concern is that I lead people to laugh at the nonsensical things we all do and not that I lead people to point fingers and mock.

    I’m sure I’ve missed the mark many times, but I like to think I am humble enough to learn from my mistakes.

  15. I guess I fall more in line with what Hunter and Alex have said. I think we have too many folks already telling us what to do and how to act. I’m really not interested in what someone else thinks is responsible blogging. It seems like conforming to a standard that someone else has set.

    Being obligated to follow a code of responsibility that another lays out as acceptable is way over the line for me.

    To each his own.

    Responsible is such a loaded word. But I certainly love one of the antonyms listed for it. FREE!

    Tom Volkar / Delightful Work´s last blog post..Fearless Living

  16. Great topic. I do believe that bloggers have a responsibility to write good, helpful content. However, this is often overshadowed by greed, which prompts bloggers to write about things they know nothing of, and pollute the web.

    Fortunately, however, most popular blogs are those that are ‘giving back’ to the internet community.

    As for journalistic standards, as mentioned by Ling, I don’t believe that it is necessary. The web is a new beast. The rules are not the same. However, regardless of the rules, whatever we put out should be useful and well-written.

    Shirley – Velvet Blues´s last blog post..New Domain Name? Use GoDaddy Discount Codes

  17. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    I agree with Tom. That’s pretty much what I was trying to express in my comment above.

    Best wishes

    Ribbon´s last blog post..nervous

  18. I feel a little bad for saying so, but no, I don’t feel responsibility.

    My blog is about me having fun and creating and putting myself out there, and yes that’s selfish, but the readers have a choice and can decide to keep reading or not, to trust what I say or not.

    I do feel responsible in other areas and that’s why we have an annual giving budget for example. But blogging? Nah, it’s all about me me me.

    (Blushing a little).

    Vered – MomGrind´s last blog post..Rain In California. Finally.

  19. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Ribbon – Thank you. You’re right. Everyone will interpret “responsibility” differently.

    Hi Chase – That’s true. Our words will linger forever in cyberspace. If we check them for accuracy prior to publishing, we’ll have something to be proud of years from now.

    Hi Avani – That’s a good point. What we write on a personal blog vs an “advice” blog can change our outlook.

    Hi Byteful Traveller – You’re welcome. This IS a great time to be alive, isn’t it? The internet is so full of valuable information written by intelligent individuals who in the past didn’t have this means of sharing their knowledge.

    Hi Alex – That’s true. Being responsible is a choice we can make, or not.

    Hi Ling – Yes, the internet, thus far, is completely unpoliced. Your comment makes me wonder if that will ever change.

    Hi Hunter – You’re right. Many individuals do make contributions to society in other areas of their lives and may feel their blog is exempt.

    Hi Lori – Thank you. Isn’t that the truth? “… there’s no limit to self expression.”. Blogs are very evident of this.

    Hi Evita – You’re welcome. I know what you’re saying about the internet having a lot of misinformation on health issues. If people took some of that advice seriously, it could be detrimental to their life. Thank you for being such a great advocate.

    Hi Broderick – Yes. The guidelines we live/blog by are based on our values, character and integrity, with each of us being different.

    Hi Marelisa – You’ve raised a good point. Millions COULD be reading our words. Maybe not today, but collectively over time.

    Hi Alik – I like how you put that, “I talk on my blog. I use the talk to correct my walk.” Our words often make us accountable for our actions, don’t they?

    Hi Lorelle – Thank you. It’s good to see you here as it is your words that inspired this topic. You’ve raised another great point. We all made a conscious decision to start a blog, so blogging consciously should come naturally.

    Hi Tracy – “Responsible goofball”. I like that. Teaching people to laugh at those nonsensical things is a great idea, as often we take life WAY too serious.

    Hi Tom – You’re right. It does come down to “To each their own”. That’s one great thing about blogging, there’s no right or wrong way to express ourselves.

    Hi Shirley – I hear you. The web has a lot of pollution from those who are motivated by greed.

    Hi again Ribbon – Thank you for the return visit and clarification.

    Hi Vered. ***smiles*** You make me laugh. Although you say your blog is all about you, your posts are teaching others to think and be informed. I see it as a win-win for you and us.

  20. John HoffNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara. Geez, such a deep question after a long day hehehe.

    I’m not sure and am kind of on the fence with this one. I think in general your blogging actions are a product of you and your morals.

    I don’t think we as bloggers necessarily owe anyone anything, but once we start something (like blogging about a topic) and people are nice enough to show up read and participate in your home, there is a certain responsibility you have in your community.

    For me (although I’m on a blogging break until about the beginning of March), I like to think I’ve helped people skip ahead of all the trials and failures I’ve had to endure. I also like teaching people how to do new things which allows you to have your own special place on the Internet.

    John Hoff´s last blog post..Understanding The Psychology Of Your Website Visitors

  21. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    and I can’t resist but to say……… “If I were standing in front of an audience of a million people”

    I would ask……….. what are you doing here?

  22. NaturalNo Gravatar says:

    hmmm, i don’t feel i have a responsibility to blogosphere. i don’t know why, but i never thought about it. i feel a responsibility to my family, friends, even to be a good citizen.

    i doubt everyone who blogs does so responsibly – probably because we blog for different reasons.

  23. What I write today will be true 100 years from now. Do I feel a responsibility? No. It’s just who I am. Why would I blog any different.

    If I read the newspapers I’d believe the world is falling apart. Instead I read blogs and realize how wonderful people are and how much I have in common with many.

  24. PatriciaNo Gravatar says:

    I think I write about the lessons I am learning – or have learned and responding to what I read about and learn and hopefully letting my own voice tell the story….

    I am a kind and responsible person and I think I am a kind and responsible blogger….and I like that others are reading what I write –
    I am doing it for me mostly….
    I just love all the comments on this one..
    “Thank You” “Great Job”

  25. tomNo Gravatar says:

    Wow this is very much true.
    I would say the most important thing is
    “Teaching others to think for themselves which will hopefully make them smarter consumers and/or bloggers”

    This my friend is why this world is messed up

  26. TumblemooseNo Gravatar says:

    Absolutely a Bloggers Manifesto.

    To some extent I would hope that these underlying principles drive most bloggers anyway. With that said, I’m certain there are people who will benefit from this gentle reminder.

    Another out of the park post.


  27. We definitely have a responsibility to the blogosphere! I’ve always made it a point in my blog to share funny/amusing stories or observations, not just to talk about myself and my petty problems. We’re all part of the web that is the universe; I figure if I pay it forward, I will reap rewards in the form of simplification, real friends and true perspective.

  28. Evelyn LimNo Gravatar says:

    I do feel a sense of responsibility. I feel that I need to convey the right message with the appropriate use of words. For instance, a lot of my beliefs and thought processes are formed from my personal experiences. However, I would be particular about how I write my posts. My intention is to invite readers to explore for themselves some of the “woo woo” stuff and not to believe everything I say. The only way to know a finding is via experiential learning and not because a book or my blog shares about it. I feel that using words like “may” helps whereas I’d tend to refrain from using “shoulds” or “should nots”.

    I also enjoyed Vered’s comments. I’m reminded not to take things overly seriously. Blogging is really about having fun, being authentic and aligning with one’s inner wisdom of doing things!

  29. GennaroNo Gravatar says:

    We definately have a reponsibility to the blogosphere. Especially to our readers. We make a choice to communicate information. Other depend on its accuracy. It’s important too for the craft itself that we approach blogging with a sense of responsibilty…raising the bar.

  30. I’m not so sure I totally agree with a comment above that the human amimal does not have a sense of innate responsibility. I feel we do.

    To me a blog is an extension of one’s life in general, as Patricia (Wisdom,) and others above point out. On mine, I am responsible for writing what is my truth, to treat others with respect and to acknowledge and respond to every comment.

    Jannie Funster´s last blog post..Like a bord on a wire, 4

  31. J.D. MeierNo Gravatar says:

    I like your metaphor and it’s a powerful phrase … “caretakers of the WWW.”

    In the Wiki world, there’s a concept of garden tenders. Garden tenders clean up the Wiki and make it more useful. It helps those that want to share focus on their sharing and it helps those that wan to consume, have a better experience, and it helps the owners of the Wikis have a better garden for all.

    J.D. Meier´s last blog post..Avoid Mental Burnout

  32. LindaNo Gravatar says:

    Here! Here! Excellent words from all of the above. Blogging from my perspective is to ensure my content is good, educational, new, futuristic and whatever else is out there.

    We DO have a responsibility to ourselves and blogosphere as what we are witnessing today is history. What is your footprint gonna look like?

    Linda´s last blog post..Happy Valentine’s Day!

  33. Dennis EdellNo Gravatar says:

    I like #1. The best articles are “timeless” articles. 😉

    Dennis Edell´s last blog post..Guest Bloggers Wanted/Needed Right Here

  34. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi John – Sorry, I didn’t mean to make you think so hard after a long day, but your comment added a lot of value. Have no fear, your blog helps many.

    Hi again Ribbon – You’re funny. “What are you doing here?”

    Hi Natural – That’s true. Not everyone blogs responsibly nor do they feel they have to.

    Hi Tess – Knowing your posts will be true 100 years from now shows you’re already blogging responsibly.

    Hi Patricia – The kindness and responsibility people practice in their real life often spills into their blog. You blog is proof of that.

    Hi Tom – Yes. It it much better to teach others to think for themselves (and be informed) than to give them the answers. What works for one person may not work for others.

    Hi George – Thank you. I have the same hope as you and do believe most bloggers have high principles and ethics.

    Hi Tea House Blossom – Good point. Paying it forward with our blogs is a great way to blog responsibly. What we get in return is priceless.

    Hi Evelyn – That’s a great reminder. Being responsible regarding the words we use can change the message of our posts as well as how we’re perceived in blogosphere.

    Hi Gennaro – ***smiles*** As bloggers we could very well raise the bar for what is being shared on the internet. Wouldn’t that be grand?

    Hi Jannie – Yes, our writings are OUR truth, and like you, I feel we need to treat others with respect.

    Hi J.D. – Thank you. I like the last part of your comment, “it helps the owners of the Wikis have a better garden for all.” Sweet!

    Hi Linda – Great question. “What is your [internet] footprint gonna look like? I like that.

    Hi Dennis – Yes, timeless articles are the best.

  35. Barbara – While I want my blog to live up to the standards you’ve listed, I have a bit of difficulty with the idea of “blogging responsibly.” Perhaps I mistake what you mean, but this term sparks of saying that there is a “responsible” way that bloggers should act. I can’t accept that right now. I think the blogosphere consists of many cultures, some I like and some I don’t, but I do believe they all have a right to live in the blogosphere.

    You’ve given me a lot to consider! Thanks for the post.

    Sara B. Healy´s last blog post..Laugh Away

  36. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    In answer to the question… what am I doing here?………

    the topic intrigues me 🙂 I like the way we are all so well trained to be positive. A little in fear of anything else I think!

    Also my point of asking a million people… “what are you all doing here” is to point out that there will most likely be a million different answers 🙂

    Okay I promise not to comment again on this topic and to take time to post on it myself in the future.

    Best wishes and thank you for this opportunity

    Ribbon´s last blog post..nervous

  37. RibbonNo Gravatar says:

    ooops PS Barbara thank you so very much for taking the time to visit me and for your comments 🙂

    best wishes

  38. graceNo Gravatar says:

    Great post, Barbara. I am so glad to be here. 🙂

  39. Debbie YostNo Gravatar says:

    Absolutely, I agree. Unfortunately some people seem to think that since they are on the internet and can post comments or blogs anonymously that they don’t have to be considerate to others. Or maybe that’s how they are in daily life as well, which is sad to think about. However, we need to remember that there is a person behind the blog. Don’t dehumanize the person because all you read is a post. Even when we try to be accurate, there may be issues we left out for space purposes or maybe there’s something in our life that we don’t care to share with the world that affects our position on things. Debate your position but be respectful when doing it.

    Debbie Yost´s last blog post..Special Exposure Wednesday – Sweaters

  40. DavinaNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Barbara.
    I read this yesterday and had to think about it before coming back to comment. I was having trouble putting the word responsible and blogging together. To use a metaphor, in my experience it’s like telling a 5-year old to play in the sandbox responsibly *smile*.

    I like how I feel when I’m writing and I feel more responsible to myself than any other. Blogging is a personal journey that is teaching me more about who I am and where the words take me.

    I also utilize it to promote my services, but the real juice comes when I just write. I think as human beings we decide how responsible we are to ourselves and if we can walk our own talk, that talk walks a long way.

    This has been a great thought-provoking post Barbara. Thanks for the trip 🙂

    Davina´s last blog post..The Morning Muse — Just Write

  41. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Sara – You’re welcome. I’m guessing you and I think of the term “blog responsibly”differently, but yet “act” the same way in blogosphere. Although the points I’ve listed are something I consider when I blog, how others see their blogging activity may be completely different. I don’t think blogging should have rules, per se, but as a blogger my goal is to leave blogosphere a better place.

    Hi again Ribbon – You’re welcome. 🙂 That’s true. If we were to ask a million people a question, we could likely get a million different answers – each worded uniquely by the individuals.

    Hi Grace – Thank you. I’m glad you are here, too. 🙂

    Hi Debbie – I absolutely agree with what you wrote. There is a person behind every blog and they should be treated with respect. Like you said, sadly some may have not learned that yet and will jump to conclusions before knowing the whole story.

    Hi Davina – You’re welcome. I believe we’re on the same page although we’ve worded it differently. “You’ve said, “…if we can walk our own talk, that talk walks a long way”, and I say “I want to blog responsibly.”

  42. I don’t think I ever thought about this in relation to blogging. I do try to do the right thing in my life and am especially obsessed with reducing my personal energy consumption and in being car-free. Will I have personally left the world a better place? I’m unsure …

  43. I don’t think we have a responsibility to the blogosphere as a whole. I don’t know that we can leave it off any “better” than before since everyone’s idea of better is different.

    I do think we have a responsibility to individual blogs that we participate in, though (including our own). If we choose to interact with another person or community and participate in their time and bandwidth, we should be contributing in some way, even if we’re disagreeing or debating.

    I wholeheartedly agree with your listed behaviors and goals as the standards try I hold myself to, and it’s nice to have someone voice such positive standards–and the idea that they’re worthwhile. They truly are.

    Sara at On Simplicity´s last blog post..Giving up Sacred Cows

  44. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Kim – Based on what I know about you, I’m guessing you’re well on your way to leave this world a better place.

    Hi Sara – Thank you. That’s a good point. When we interact with others we should contribute “something” worthwhile.

  45. RobinNo Gravatar says:

    Hi there Barbara – I do feel a keen responsibility to my readers. I always try to address any questions they have about my topic.

    As for contributing something worthwhile to the world, I believe we do that automatically when we express our true selves – so there’s no need to think about it (other than figure out how to “express our true selves”!)

    Robin´s last blog post..Finding Our True Selves

  46. Barbara SwaffordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Robin – **smiles** I like how you put that, “As for contributing something worthwhile to the world, I believe we do that automatically when we express our true selves” That’s true, isn’t it?