Topic of the Week

Should blogging, as a form of freedom of speech and expression, be limited?

Context: The advancement of the world wide web has brought opportunities for individuals to exchange relevant information. Blogs, message boards, e-mails, and community websites (i.e. friendster, myspace) have served as avenues for many internet users to share their thoughts, ideas, an
d opinions regarding any topic they may desire to discuss. However, like any form of communication in the real world, there are many drawbacks and limitations that users and readers must be aware of. In previous weeks, we have discussed issues on the internet such as the limitations to pornography and software sharing. But one of the most important topics that should bring awareness not just to journalists but to all web users is the limitation to freedom of speech in blogs. As bloggers and readers, do you think blogging should be limited? Many might contest that we may write anything in our personal blogs. After all, they are avenues to freedom of expression. But do blogs make a special exception from the rules in the real world?
What do you think? Take a stand!


Summary of Topic 2

BloggersCode had the intention to narrow down last week's question by asking "Should online pornography be totally banned?" The word totally was added in order to make our visitors think more critically about the situation. Let' see how it went:
The topic ran from February 06 to 13 and it generated 452 hits. In the poll, 36% of the voters said no while the remaining 64% indicated a firm yes.
Many of our respondents were lenient with online pornography, if it is made with the user’s consent, and especially if the person is an adult. Issues were raised regarding their take on the prevalence of online pornography as an entity that is now easily accessible to minors. These people have opined that online pornography should not be totally banned because they believe that some rights will be violated in exchange, including freedom of expression. They suggested that regulation and stricter laws on online pornography would be a better alternative.

There was a weaker voice in our polls claiming that online pornography should be totally banned. According to some of the comments, it is debasing and self-destructive, and it creates greed because pornography creators only seek profit. The ease of accessing online pornography was one of their strongest arguments, as they claimed that parents are not always around to protect their children.

Summary of Topic 1

The topic “Should methods to identify and track individuals without their consent be allowed?” was featured for two weeks and it generated 475 page views. In the poll, 82% of the voters said no while the remaining 12% said a firm yes.
There were a lot of reasons why people disagreed to be identified and tracked online. One of the major reasons the visitors indicated in the chatterbox was that it is a sign of disrespect (especially when personal information is shared or even sold). This also makes internet users feel that their rights are neglected and that the web administrators are taking advantage of their vulnerability.

Some also claimed that they are hesitant to disclose information because it is personal. They often do not know what is it for and don’t get anything beneficial from sharing it.

On the other hand, some comments in the chatterbox indicated that cookies are not bad at all – According to Gian, “cookies are used for authenticating specific information about users, such as site preferences. When people use Friendster, MySpace MySpace, and other interaction sites, they use cookies in order to personalize their own sites.” In addition, some visitors indicated that cookies help in choosing what products to buy.

We at BloggersCode say that tracking individuals on the net would be a great idea for control but internet users should be informed about its purpose. As one of the bloggers said it, “best thing we can do is just equip ourselves with knowledge... In the face of rapid technological development, knowledge is our only defense from negative advances”. Here here!


Blogger's Code

B Bona fide. I will be fair and honest by identifying and linking to my sources as much as possible. I will choose to write what is true rather than what is acceptable

L Leading. I recognize that my blog is easily accessible to millions of visitors. I will abide by high standards so that others could follow my good beginnings.

O - Original. I will not be a boring blogger. I will never be satisfied with mediocrity.

G - Guarded. I will always be on guard by making sure that I refrain from using harmful words and offensive images, in order to protect the sensitivities of others. I will also respect privacy and confidentiality.


The New Phase of Journalism

Are bloggers journalists? I believe that in some way they are. Here’s how: Blogs are online journals right? Therefore, those who write in blogs are journal-ists. This concludes my article on how bloggers are journalists.

HAHA kidding!

Funny. No? Oh.

Well kidding aside, there are actually 3 important pointers on why bloggers should take the same responsibility as that of professional journalists.

Pointer # 1: With great power comes great responsibility. Yes, this is one of those instances when the words of the late Ben Parker are used once again. When you blog, keep in mind that fellow bloggers or even those outside the blogging community are reading what you write. The internet has given you the power to influence people, and it is up to you to use this power wisely. For instance, most weblog sites allow others to comment on what you wrote, and you can reply in return. If someone made a comment that something in your blog is inaccurate, you can correct it right away. If you can, do so. There are no clear-cut guidelines on how to blog responsibly- you can only trust your own judgment. If your Spidey senses tell you that what you are about to write can hurt somebody or misinform people, then you should not write it at all. This brings me to my next point.

Pointer # 2: Bloggers are not immune from libel. Libel means you defame someone by writing something that damages his or her reputation. Libel is punishable by law. You should be very careful, because assuming that you do not have much knowledge on journalism practices, media law, and such, personal legal liability can be used against you.

Pointer # 3: Journalists have a passion for writing, and so should you. Blogging is one of the gifts given by advances in technology. With it you are free to be biased and unedited, you can write about anything under the sun or beyond it. Just remember when to draw the line, because even when you are online and having a bit of anonymity, you are still accountable for whatever you say.

Why Blog?

Dying to share your creative and clever ideas to the world? Or you are just looking for an outlet where you can tell your awesome and fantabulous experiences? Well, blogging is created just for you!

Blogging is simply having an online journal. Remember your diaries? It’s like that! The only difference is that you actually let other people read your entries. So you have to make share that you can stick up for whatever you have written.

You know the best thing blogging can give you? Voice! Yes, voice so loud that the whole world can hear! Beat that! So imagine how much power is at the tips of your fingers when you blog. You can be even more powerful than, let say, presidents!

But, as Spiderman tells us in his first movie, with great power comes great responsibility. There’s already so much misunderstandings going on around us. That’s why if you want to speak out, just make sure that you’re not contributing to the already deafening noise that surrounds us. Okay?

Blogging empowers you. It lets you exercise your freedom to express your thoughts. It lets you share ideas that the whole world needs to know. Who knows, maybe the answer to many of our problems today lies in you! So come on, write them down! Blog!

For you techno-phobics, don’t fret! There are a lot of blog sites you can choose from and a lot of them are user-friendly. So, go on. Prove to the world that you’re not one of the multiplying apathetic creatures. Blog!