Your Turn: Is it Ethical to Vent Your Personal Feelings On a Client’s Blog?

Here’s the scenario: Your client hires you to post several times a week or a month regarding a particular topic. Though the client expects your personality to shine through, you give him a bit more than he bargained for. You take barbs at people you don’t like, add your personal view to what is to be a neutral post and go off on rants that are more representative of you than the topic.

Is this ethical?

So, here’s the next “Your Turn” question. There’s a difference between personality and personal feelings…when you’re blogging for a client is it ethical to vent your personal feelings in what is supposed to be a neutral blog post? If you have a personality clash with someone or feel strongly about politics or religion and it somehow comes through on every blog post you write, is this ethical?

The reason I’m writing this post is because a member of the FWJ community was recently fired from not one, but two blogs because he constantly takes potshots at other bloggers. He feels he’s was hired to give a personal touch. I think there’s a difference between personality and negativity – especially if you’re representing someone else.

Blogging is a form of free expression, but do you have that freedom when you’re blogging for a client?

(My vote is to always get permission before getting too personal on a client blog and don’t post anything that would reflect poorly on the client.)







9 responses
  1. Patrick Curl Avatar

    I think personality doesn’t have to be personal attacks, I think anything that could result in controversy whether good or bad, should definitely be relayed to the client for approval and discussion, if they sign on to a controversial post, then they take responsibility for it, and if it backfires at least you have their backing and support.
    .-= Patrick Curl´s last blog ..The Courage to Succeed: Failure is not an option! =-.

  2. Meryl K Evans Avatar

    Some folks can get away with this in their OWN blogs, but for most of us — we should never put people down in public. A blogger certainly shouldn’t be doing it in a client’s blog. If he wants to give an example of something someone did to make a point, that’d be OK as long as no names or identifying characteristics appear.
    .-= Meryl K Evans´s last blog ..9 Reasons to Cut Responses to an Article Query =-.

  3. Danielle Avatar

    If you’re hired by someone, I think you have to allow a little bit of your personality to come through while still keeping the tone of THEIR blog. If you don’t…well, you can’t be surprised if you get dismissed. Unless they say, “This is your place to do what you want,” they expect you to continue with the flow of their blog as it has been in the past.

    With that note…

    Deb – I can’t find the FWJ Forums! I know I’ve been there and I think I even signed up but I changed computers awhile ago, lost my bookmarks, and now I can’t find it! Help?
    .-= Danielle´s last blog ..Article Me – Opportunity for Writers and Content Buyers =-.

  4. Leah McClellan Avatar

    It sounds like arguing with coworkers on the job to me. Suppose the blogger is a cashier at a local convenient market or deli or coffee shop or a salesperson–any job that’s public with customers who have a choice to go elsewhere. Of course you’d expect his or her personality to shine–in a positive, friendly, neutral way that appeals to almost anyone. But there are certain things any employer doesn’t want. That would include “potshots” at colleagues (other bloggers) and discussion of religion or politics with the customers (readers), especially if those discussions include rants (I can picture it!).

    “Blogging is a form of free expression, but do you have that freedom when you’re blogging for a client?”

    I say no, absolutely not. If you own your own restaurant or a newspaper, for that matter (or a blog), you can do anything you want in any way you choose, including how you act and what discussions you choose to have with customers or what you publish in the newspaper or blog (and you attract similar attitudes and people, of course). But when you work for someone else, you do it their way, in a professional way, and you leave your opinions, beliefs, and attitudes at home. And even if you’re to let your personality shine, you should still keep in mind that you’re representing the client, so you might need to shut a few things off if they don’t fit the image that the client wants to project.

    That’s my .02 🙂

    .-= Leah McClellan´s last blog ..Tip # 6 Blog comments =-.

  5. Wendy Sullivan Avatar

    Ethical? Who cares about ethical – that’s a great way to get your butt fired! If you are blogging for a client, you are expected to put the face of the company before all else. Ask DC Douglas, formerly known as the Geico Gecko, what ranting can do to your employment status.

    .-= Wendy Sullivan´s last blog ..Monday Morning Fiction =-.

  6. Carson Brackney Avatar

    If it’s for a client, I don’t think you should risk damaging their reputation or standing within their field.

    Is it unethical to take shots at people (especially those who deserve them)? Not even close–if you’re taking shots under your own name and under your own flag.

    When you’re on someone else’s turf and you’re using their resources to launch your screed, the picture changes. Unless you *know* the client is AOK with you going a little nutty, you need to pull back on the reins a little.

    I suppose it all boils down to the agreement between writer and client or, in cases where such things aren’t explicit, the understanding both parties have of the project.

    I will gladly rip into someone now and again on my own blog (though I try to keep it civil *most* of the time), but I wouldn’t consider doing it from a client’s site without expressed consent and an agreement that it’s all hunky dory.

    Oh, just in case anyone was wondering. I swear I’m not the guy who got 86’d. I’ve been a good boy!
    .-= Carson Brackney´s last blog ..Stripping Dates in the Name of SEO and the Inevitable Triumph of Quality Writing =-.

  7. Shevonne Avatar

    There is a difference between adding a personal touch and taking jabs at other bloggers. It makes the client look bad, and you lose them as a client. Definitely a no-no. If you want to do that, then do it on your own blog.
    .-= Shevonne´s last blog ..Cebastian Making a Fire With His Dad =-.

  8. Deb Dorchak Avatar

    That’s a no brainer. As someone already mentioned, being hired to write on someone else’s blog makes you an extension of the blog owner. You are their face and need to make them look good – which is why they hired you to begin with.

    If you really can’t keep your personal opinions out of the mix, then maybe you shouldn’t be writing for their blog, or anyone else’s.
    .-= Deb Dorchak´s last blog ..One Ringy-Dingy… =-.

  9. Donna Avatar

    Why did the blog owner allow the post to begin with? Sounds to me like they encouraged the controversy and maybe it went a little too far so they’re blaming it on the blogger? If it had happened before and the really didn’t want it to happen again they should have had a system in place to monitor the posts before they went live.
    .-= Donna´s last blog ..Imitation Is The Sincerest Form Of Flattery – But Plagiarism Just Plain Sucks! =-.

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