If you were tuned into the blogosphere and mainstream media last week, it was impossible to miss the "he said, she said" dispute going on between Arianna Huffington and George Clooney.
After Clooney’s post generated significant media attention, along with a mix of positive and negative reactions within the blogosphere, he quickly responded saying that he did not write the piece. It was then determined that Huffington had actually compiled Clooney’s various political statements (culled from previous media interviews) and re-worked them into a post that appeared to be submitted by Clooney himself. It’s now clear that Clooney’s incompetent publicist played a big role in this miscommunication by approving a draft of the post without his blessing.
Regardless of the publicist’s bone-headed move, it’s the Huffington Post that beared the brunt of criticism. And rightfully so. The Huffington Post, and other top-tier blogs, have grown huge audiences because they pride themselves on offering honest, unfiltered opinions that encourage reader participation. Transparency is key in the blogosphere (and in life for that matter). Attempting to fabricate posts (ghostwriting articles, not citing sources, etc.) will only hurt you in the long run.
So, let this be a lesson to anyone who is thinking about launching a blog. Always remain 100% transparent, write your own content, and give credit where it’s due. Attempting to deceive your readers will not only alienate them, it will damage your reputation in an instant.