This post is guest blogged by Muhammad Siyab, a fifteen year old blogger who has his own blog at Putting Blogs First.
Honesty is the best policy. This poor old proverb is truly clichÃ© nowadays, and is all too much overlooked and ridiculed, unfortunately. At least in the blogosphere, if not in society as a whole. Who wants to be truthful with their readers? They trust you: why not take advantage of that trust and tell them lies?
They wouldn’t know, I’ll just game my Feedburner feed count and manipulate the widget to show what it’s really not!
And the list continues…
Is this a familiar situation to you? Are YOU, as a blogger, entangled in this mess? Well then maybe it’s time you read this post and changed your habits. Better late then never! 😉
Blogging, like the internet, is a web. But instead of servers and computer at its ends, there are real live people with emotions and intelligence. Why do you think people read your blog? Just for leisure or for fun? Well might be, but look a little deeper and you’ll realize that they trust you, that’s why they read your blog! Tell me: would you manage an account at a bank you do not trust? 😉
Readers trust you to deliver information truthfully and be honest in all your interactions and dealings with them. Even if you have been dishonest with them sometimes, they have taken it to all be all true and never have revolted or hit you back with accusations: have they?
Now, before we go further, let’s look at some examples where bloggers can lie to their readers:
- Manipulating their feed count. This is very common. Bloggers, for the sake of getting popular (and getting more subscribers), often manipulate their Feedburner feed count widget (by replacing it with an image linked to their feed). Most innocent get trapped in this deceit and subscribe, thinking a blogger has 5000 subscribers, when in reality he has only 100.
- Holding a blog contest but never giving out prizes. This is common too, and a big example of readers’ rights infringement (there are readers’ rights, unofficially). Some bloggers hold a big and lucrative blog contest (like a $1000 prize or a PlayStation 3 or something expensive). Readers, in the hope of winning the prize, do anything the blogger requests them to do, all in his/her blog’s favour. And when the winner is announced, the blogger reneges on his/her promise and never gives the rightful winner his/her deserved prize!
- Telling false stories of accomplishment. This has spread like the plague, believe me! Some bloggers never tire of telling readers false stories of their accomplishments, which they make up quite creatively. The sad thing is that most readers, especially the rookies, get trapped in their lies. Some stories I have read are so funny I was like ROFL! 😀
Another thing that I’ve noticed a lot is that bloggers freely give readers the false impression that people have been contacting them. It goes like this: ‘…many people have emailed me after I wrote my tutorial, asking me to elaborate on it…‘. Now not every blogger lies like this, but most do.
Just look at your self. Don’t you some times feel disgusted when you feel that a blogger has tried to give you a false impression by using the above or other methods? 😉
Why be Truthful?
So, here comes the ultimate question: why be truthful?
You see, lying to you readers or painting a false picture is like deceiving your parents or spouse or close relatives/friends. What’s the connection here? Your parents and your spouse and your friends trust you to be truthful with them, right? It’s the same with your readers. They trust you tonot deceive them and not tell them lies.
Now you wouldn’t lie to your parents or spouse (if you were a good person), right? So why do it with your readers? Aren’t your readers of enough value for you? After all, they are really putting their trust in a stranger, aren’t they ;)?
Now for a moment imagine if your readers some how got to know that you’ve been deceiving them. THEN look how they leave you and advise others to do the same! They’ll be so disgusted that they’ll never return to you again. Just try and see! 😉
I know you might think ‘What the heck does it matter?‘. It probably doesn’t matter much, but remember that you’re out to build a strong relationship with your readers, and truthfulness is the best way to build up authority .
So, before you try to do some thing like that, just re-think and consider whether this will actually be beneficial for your long-term relationship with your readers. Agreed that this might benefit you in the short term, but if you’re looking into the long term, it will hurt your blog and your relationship with your readership.
Your turn to speak up: Would you ever commit any kind of deceit with your readers, as little it may be?
Hoping for a good discussion here!