Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Responsibility of every Blogger

A comment from Tamarind got me thinking about media, writing, and blogging in particular. It's been 9 months now since I started blogging, and I've been wondering for a while already if my blog has had any influence on how people do things.

I think there must be some people out there who have followed my strategies for the Red Proto Drake, since that is still my most visited blog post, and I know there are some people who took some of my more recent advice on Discipline priesting and have changed their healing style a bit with that.

But if my guides have influence on how people do, then my other posts might as well. My positive posts about Pugtastic might make people more leniant about grouping with people outside the normal comfort zone, but my 'blow off steam posts' might influence people's train of thought so that they too might be feeling more negative about whichever subject I speak about that day?

It feels quite arrogant to actually believe that what I write can influence other people's behaviour, but I noticed that when I read blogs from other people I do react to their words in a certain way. Sometimes I go contrary, in fact I often do, I simply am very stubborn, but sometimes I completely agree. Sometimes, I look for advice in other blogs, and I may adjust how I do something in game because of this.

This is not a new subject of course. I've not done the research, but there must have been many writers, reporters, and other who've become aware of their influence on others. And not even only these people, every person's behaviour has some sort of influence on the mind of another.

I still believe strongly, for example, that had the media been less advanced, and less able to reach the entirely world in about 2 seconds. The economical crisis we're going through (worldwide it seems) currently would've been less bad. Local business would not have known of other businesses perhaps, and the ripple in the pond would've been less bad. People may not have chain-reacted and sold all their shares at the same time, and some companies may have lived where now they have become victim of the self-fulfilling prophecy of economic doom.

However, this media is here to stay. And even though I think it's hard to measure it's effect, there is definitely an effect of every written word on other people. Even silly things like Gevlon's story about raiding in blues has had it's own effect, since you sometimes see references to it to defend people's stances on gear.

And thinking about this I realized that as a blogger I have a reponsibility to my readers. I have a responsibility to be aware that my readers are influenced by what I write. May it be a positive influence, or a negative influence, but by reading what I have written, they will change a little bit. And maybe not even their outward behaviour, but even if it's a tiny bit of feeling, or a nagging doubt that I have placed, it were my words responsible for doing so.

When I go on a rant about something I may create more negative thoughts about that same subject. If another blogger reads what I wrote and he agrees and writes about it, his readers may feel more negative about it afterwards as well.

And in the same line of thought. If the entire blogging community is negative about certain aspects of World of Warcraft, will we then spoil the fun for quite a few players?

Perhaps one of the bigger examples very recently has been the article on WoW.com about the care package. The care package is a pretty sweet deal for quite a few people. For quite a few people the care package offers more than what their characters have every had before. And the care package is a choice, not a must. You can decide yourself if you want the care package, or wait for account restoration.

But WoW.com decided that it was a bad deal. The care package was Blizzard being lazy. And funny enough..on vent that same day I hear people talk about how Blizzard was taking the easy way out with their care package, and I wondered if that really was them looking into the deal forming their own opinion, or if they hadn't even checked what it was and had simply read WoW.com.

We as a blogging community have a certain influence on the player base. On how they react, and how they feel about certain things in game. If the blogging community goes of on a rant about pugs, people will spiral down in disliking pugs. In fact, people will be so caught up with it, that they don't even give pugs a chance anymore. They silently run their dungeon, and because they run it with people they picked up randomly, those people can't be anything special. They stop reminding themselves that these pugs are parts of guilds elsewhere, and that these people have their own group, and that they are likely to be having the exact same feeling about you. As a blogging community we can steer the player base in feeling a certain way. Maybe not a lot, but even a bit is enough sometimes to get a ball rolling.

As a blogger, this realization means that I have the responsibility to my readers to think well about what I want with my posts before I stick my thoughts and words up there. Before my whinging about pugs causes me to be treated like one the very next run.


  1. We have the responsibility of any person: to not spread stupidity. Perhaps it is magnified by our potentially greater voice and audience, but it is not new. Unfortunately, many have found that appealing to anti-intellectualism, racism, and all manner of poor thinking (or lack thereof) can grant them power and popularity, and so they pursue their harmful ideas without regard for how they destroy the world around them.

    See: Pat Robertson and his reaction to Haiti's undeserved suffering.

  2. info@twistednether.netJanuary 21, 2010 at 3:37 AM

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  3. Y'know, I hadn't thought of that. I try not to be too negative in my posts, but occasionally a little vitriol slips in, like my last post about stingy players not wanting to pay for crafting fees.

    I'll have to keep that in mind. :)