“When we proclaim ourselves as experts, by certification or opinion (blogs) we are responsible for our words. We have an obligation to our clients and/or readers to provide accurate information and to disclose our bias. When we conduct ourselves as experts in a particular field many followers of that field will trust what we say and take it as fact. While I don’t disagree that readers have the obligation to do their own research and make their own informed decisions that doesn’t absolve the birth advocate/blogger of the responsibility for their own words and how they are presented.”
This topic comes up every few months, especially when someone took the advice of an online “counselor” and had a negative or even tragic outcome. Women who let their pregnancies continue past 42 weeks or who have Unassisted Births with a breech baby readily come to mind; certain “natural birth” community forums leading the way against safety and, all too often, even common sense. What is it that makes it so easy to take a stranger’s advice when real life advice says otherwise? I’m reminded of second (and third) opinions… continuing to ask for “opinions” until someone finally says what you want to hear. “Aha! See! I was right after all!” When it comes to childbirth, ask ten women what they think and you’ll get fifteen answers. Eventually, you’ll hear what you wanted to hear in the first place.
But blogging isn’t quite a community forum. Bloggers taking on a more serious tone, sounding more professional, when, in fact, all we bloggers really are are darn good writers (for the most part). We don’t necessarily know any more than anyone else, we’re just good at getting the information out there. And yes, myself included.
So, do we bloggers have a responsibility to our readers? Do we need to put disclaimers on each post saying, “This is my opinion. To figure out yours, read and research a LOT. Do not just take my word for it.”?
I’d love to hear from the women themselves how they think we should present ourselves, how we remind women we’re human, too, and don’t know it all (despite some believing they do). How do we demonstrate our specialties while also showing our warts? Is it only through time that someone earns respect?
What do you think?