Freelance writer Rebecca Fernandez suggests five lessons learned during the ScienceBlogs PepsiGate scandal.
She goes into more depth in her article, but here are the the bulletpoints:
Lesson #1: You might be a journalist.
Lesson #2: Your brand is no longer your own.
Lesson #3: You can’t buy a seat in a meritocracy.
Lesson #4: The Internet never forgets.
Lesson #5: Sorry, Seth, but it’s pretty hard to be a linchpin.
The one that stands out to me is #1.
I would’ve laughed at that a couple years ago, but I’ve come to realize how true it is. Bloggers can be journalists — especially when we know a lot about our particular niche — and our opinions do matter. We can do interviews with people we read about in the news. We can function as a publicity arm for the products, books, and ideas we are passionate about. We can write posts the mainstream media would never publish.
In many cases, a single blog gets more readers than some newspapers. It’s a weird form of power. But it’s not just about popular bloggers. You could have only a handful of readers, yet stil have an influence over how they think about a topic. How cool is that.
And as PepsiGate showed us, what gets published under our name can undermine our credibility if we’re not careful.