Ethical Issues in Blogging

Drawbacks, Dangers and Pitfalls of Blogging in a Ministry or Mission Context and How they Can be Avoided-Some consideration of Ethical and Legal Pitfalls must be included.   

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Sacré-Cœur, Paris 2015

Blogging in church and mission context should be taken more seriously because it reflects not just the blogger but the whole congregation and Jesus Christ which is the main reason behind this mission.

DRAWBACKS AND HOW TO AVOID

Firstly, most hosting sites are free but free stuff also includes unwanted advertisement. Bailey and Storch emphasizes that:

……”when you use free blogging service, your blog will feature ads (…). Naturally, some people will interpret the ads on your site as a tacit endorsement, which may cause unnecessary trouble.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.82)

Advertisement, sometimes will create conflict to the message specially in Church mission context. “Free sites are a terrific way to experiment, but control is more important than cost.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.82)  Moreover, if we cannot filter these advertisement better to pay a little more than to loose souls.

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 Secondly, blogging is an advance tool for communication. The blog should contain a good impression of  integrity, honesty and reliability. “In reality, anything we do in public reflects on the church.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.80) Blogging is also exhibiting writing abilities in public through social media and the internet.  It doesn’t mean that because a bloggers identity was not physically seen it should not be an excuse to write ungodly and disrespectful.  Be responsible, both mind and words while promoting the church and the message of Jesus Christ.

Additionally, If the blogger was writing without the consent of the pastor-the blogger should remind the audience that what was written was his personal idea and not by the whole congregation. Therefore, including a disclaimer is important:

“The purpose of a disclaimer is to make it clear that you are not speaking for the church.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.93)

 Thirdly, honesty and willingness to give credits to other sources is also very essential. “Get permission from colleagues before writing about them. (…), for instance asking bloggers to provide links when quoting source.” (Rettberg, J. W. 2014, p.161)

“always remember to give credit to your original source. And always be humble in accepting it.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.90-92)

 “As a rule of thumb do not remove anything you have written, unless you know it is false, or it has been proven false and potentially damaging by an impartial third party, usually a court.” (White, C. & Biggs, J. 2014, p.146) Therefore, blogging is legally a serious matter and anything written should had a basis, accurate and can be explain further if the audience need more explanation.

As more people get involved to read the blog, questions will also raise and the blogger should be ready to answer those questions.  “Pebby Noble has a great rule: never write anything on your blog that you wouldn’t be willing to say to someone’s face.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.90)

On the other hand, some people will provoke to debate. It will disagree so badly and might say hurtful words that could mean so much. But instead of minding too much of this attacks, the blogger need to understand that this is unavoidable specially if the blog was becoming popular for visitors.   Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that we need to ignore this kind of attacks.

“Whenever you come across personal attacks and spiteful words, give them one chance and then move on. Don’t get pulled into endless debate and heated argument.” (Bailey, B. & Storch, T. 2007, p.161-162)

It’s better to answer back one time and then forget about it. “Do not post material that is unlawful, abusive, defamatory, invasive of another’s privacy, or obscene to a reasonable person.” (Rettberg, J. W. 2014, p.161)  Moreover, self-control and professionalism is more important than to win over an angry person.

As a result, blogging would be more powerful tool to promote the church and the message of salvation about Jesus Christ if we are aware and follow the guidelines of blogging.

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