This post has been rolling around in my head, like a rock in my shoe. Bumping, pushing, nagging at me, really making me question things. I think I've forgotten about it, then it's back, prodding my consciousness.
In the last week I was called 'sensible', and then one my choices as ethical, so it really got me to thinking. In terms of this blog, and my role as a blogger, what do I believe?
The following, scribbled on notepads, discussed late at night, and pondered in the car, is the result:
1. I believe that this space, this tiny, insignificant space on the Internet that is mine, has the potential to be powerful. Am I up to the challenge? (Yes! Oh, by all means, YES.) I'm learning and growing, stretching, and I love every second of it.
As I learn, stretch, and grow, this place may change. Over the past three years it's changed! My core beliefs and values, however, will not.
2. I believe that because this space has the potential to be powerful, I need to respect that. I need to respect my readers, and in doing so, I need to give you all only the very best of me.
3. I believe that to give the best of me, I will only write what I can look back on and be proud of. That doesn't mean I'll censor myself, but rather that I am careful with my keyboard. When one is a writer, you realize that your words can, on one hand, be uplifting and kind, but on the other, equally cutting and hurtful. Just because I know I can write doesn't mean I will unleash that skill in anger on people through my blog.
If I am unsure, I will write, wait, and then re-visit. I will NOT post in anger. Anger blinds me, makes me stupid and impulsive, and I will only say things that I will regret later.
4. I believe in being fair and treating people, as well as companies, with dignity and how I would personally like to be treated. While I think sharing my negative experiences is fine, I don't believe in publicly flogging or calling out someone over it. I prefer to wield my keyboard in private on that one. I will not engage in public mudslinging. It is not my job to be the customer service police, or to target people with my keyboard.
It's not me that they have to answer to.
However, there is a catch with this one; if I feel a person or company is being completely unethical, discriminatory, or morally wrong, I will give my personal opinion on that. Sometimes, it will be done very passionately.
Amendment (o5/01/2011): I have passionate opinions on some topics, and being kind and not engaging in mudslinging does NOT mean that I will cow to pressure to keep silent. Sometimes rocking the boat is needed for the greater good, and if that is the case, then I will wholeheartedly rock the boat. If this means disagreeing with someone publicly, then I may just do so-but I will be FAIR about it.
The decision to retract posts is entirely at my own discretion. I will not do so just because I'm asked and someone has either harassed me, tried to pay me off, or made me feel guilty. If I genuinely feel I've messed up, then I will publicly apologize. I want to own my words, even if I have to eat them. If I don't feel I have messed up and I genuinely do not regret my words, they stay.
5. I believe that my writing and the creative process is FAR more important to me than any money, fame, or products that might be offered to me. I believe my voice should be authentic. I refuse to kiss butt, step on toes, participate in cliques, or create drama to draw more traffic here. Good writing will bring the traffic. Call me naive for that belief, that's fine. I don't care. I will not change who I am, nor compromise my beliefs, to fit in with other Mom bloggers.
I do not CARE about popularity or material wealth. If opportunity comes my way, I will embrace it and be grateful. I refuse to mow other people down in order to attain it.
6. I believe in being honest. If you ask me my opinion, I will answer the best I can, while being truthful but tactful as well. My stories, while sometimes altered to protect identity, are genuine. My reviews are genuine. What you see on this blog is ME.
7. I believe that no matter if you are the most famous blogger ever or someone who just started yesterday, readers/bloggers are equally valuable and I will treat you the same. Everyone gets special treatment. Cliques are not my style.
I don't believe in, nor do I understand, celebrity worship, hierarchy, class systems, or fan-dom. If I like a big name blogger, it's because I think they are a great person and I respect their writing, not because they are "famous", have a lot of money, or that I will somehow profit from a relationship with them. (see #5)
If someone ignores me online, which some have, I give them the benefit of a doubt. If I'm snubbed in real life, I will consider it their loss and move on.
If you are new to blogging and I've someone missed your comment or tweet, please don't take it personally. I'm named Scattered Mom for a reason. Give me the heads up!
8. I believe in admitting my mistakes when I've messed up, owning it, and then fixing things. If I ever offend a reader, I would hope that they would e-mail me so we can talk about it privately. Debate and discussion is healthy and can promote great things, but I will also not allow things to dissolve into nastiness here.
Don't mistake honesty and kindness for weakness. I will stand up for myself, and my readers, should mudslinging begin in my space. Trolls and drama queens, you have been warned.
9. I believe in respecting my friend's and family's privacy, even if this means passing by juicy stories that I think would be fantastic to write, which would embarrass them. If they ask me not to write something, I will respect that. I have boundaries about what I will and will not share. These have evolved over time, and will continue to change as life goes on. Readers can forget about stories detailing my sex life, boobs, bodily functions, or disagreements with my husband.
I will NOT compromise my family for my blog.
10. I believe in sharing, helping other people, and building community. For me, this is also a big part of why I blog. The people I've met, and the relationships I've made, are all valuable to me. While I have never met a fellow blogger in real life, I know that when I do it will be a powerful experience. I am proud to be part of the blogger community and to know the bloggers that I have met in the 3 1/2 years I've been online.
What do YOU believe?
Edited to add: Take this post and run with it. Feel free to write your own "I Believe", and if you want, let me know where the link is in the comments. I'll come back and post them up here.