When the Blog With Integrity pledge first came about, signing it was a no brainer for me. Really, who doesn't want integrity. I was fresh off of an amazing experience at BlogHer and full of conviction. Then I wrote about the experience, got a lot of really amazing feedback, and promptly had no idea what to write any more. Especially when it came to blogging with integrity. Missy even asked me to guest post about it on her blog, and I just couldn't do it. The truth is, I wasn't sure what it meant for me. I needed time to figure it out.
I've been a major user of the Internet for a very long time. Back to the days when the Internet didn't have pictures other than the ones created using numbers and letters. I love the Internet. If I can't research it on the Internet, it really doesn't exist to me. I've been intentionally favoring businesses with a web presence for years. I trust the Internet. The Internet in return has been very good to me. I wouldn't have a career that I love it weren't for the Internet and technology.
Until recently, it never occurred to me that an opinion, specifically a blogger's opinion, could be bought. (I know, naive) Product placements in movies, never trusted, but blogs, blogs are honest person to person communication. It helps that the people who's opinions I love (Cool Mom Picks, Popgadget) are not, but I always assumed that any review that I read was an honest opinion. I was wrong. I know the pressure of providing for a family. I know that the way I was raised is not the same as other people. I know there are shades of gray in the world. However, I don't need to be one of them.
If I offer an opinion about something, I want you to know that it is my own opinion. I won't say I'll never do anything for compensation, but I will say that if I do, you will always know about it. You can know that I will not be bought. I value my words, they are my words. What I write about is far too personal for me to not own them. I trust you, the Internet, with a lot of what I feel and think, and I want you to trust me in return. Opinions here are that of the writer.
Finding clarity in this has helped me clear up a few more things about my relationship with the Internet. I stopped following people on Twitter who just tweeted contests, or the same tweet over and over again about their blog. I removed a few contest only blogs from my reader. I try to keep any contest stuff out of my tweets (with a few specific exceptions), and I try to only link to my own posts once. I rarely enter a giveaway anymore unless I know something about the how's and why's of how it came to be (or it is for a million dollars or trip to Hawaii, because really, just for the excuse to dream). I am trying even harder to make sure I am supporting primarily local and independent businesses. This holiday season, I'm trying to do more handmade, even if I didn't make it myself. (something cool relating to that as soon as it gets here)
I will never be someone who makes a living through the Internet, unless you count the day job. I will never be a big name blogger, I don't want to be. However, I owe it to myself to live my life in a way that I can be proud of. This, is something I am proud of.