I’m afraid that the time has come.
Now that I’ve been blogging for over a year – now I’ve officially entered my blogging adolescence – it’s imperative we have “that chat.”
You see, one’s blogging adolescence is a perilous time. It’s a time when you think you know everything there is, when you think you’re God’s greatest gift on this here blogosphere. When you feel you can do and say as you please. When you make promises that, well, you probably can’t keep.
The problem is you, like I, may say something foolish. Something that actually hurts someone. Something that someone may take as gospel even when they really shouldn’t. This might become a big problem if that person decides to file a lawsuit against you for blogging sexual misconduct.
There are other dangers too!
Now that people are beginning to recognise you – now that you have thousands of followers (maybe) – it’s possible someone may want to steal your content. The last thing any of us want to contract is an STD. (Otherwise known as a Stealing Thieving Douchbag.)
This is why I decided to draw up this post. I want to protect you, dear blogger, by helping place a metaphorical condom over your blog. To prevent you from contracting an STD… or worse!
Here are 4 ways to do that.
1. Make Sure You Wear Protection
A Disclaimer really is the equivalent of putting a condom over your blog.
“What does a Disclaimer do?” (I didn’t hear you ask.)
Well, a Disclaimer protects you against any legal action should someone be stupid enough to take your advice without consulting an actual professional. For example, a disclaimer for this blog post might say, “I’m not a lawyer. If I’m wrong, it’s your fault for not doing your own research. It’s your fault for believing me.”
To quote Abraham Lincoln, “Don’t trust everything you read on the internet.”
I like to think I know what I’m talking about. I want to believe I do my homework, but the truth is, sometimes (perhaps more than I care to admit), I don’t know what I’m talking about.
I write about mental health, psychology and philosophy, but my day job is flying aeroplanes, boys and girls. That’s what I have a licence for! Not for giving unsolicited life advice (as much as I enjoy it).
Anyway, the point is, a Disclaimer provides you with legal protection in case someone tries to sue you for stupid choices they made when they were drunk.
Another reason to wear a Disclaimer is let others know about any money you might be making from the use of affiliate links, products or services. To put it another way, it lets your readers know if you’re a pimp!
Now, there are a couple of other forms of contraception you should be aware of.
I know, I know, I had no idea either. I only found out after doing research for this post. I figured I was set with my disclaimer. But that’s not enough. Just like a condom, it’s only 98% effective. You might think it’s enough, but to be extra sure, you need the other two as well.
Let me break those down.
Your Terms & Conditions is basically an agreement that says you have to abide by my rules if you come into my house. This includes, but is not limited to, “rules and guidelines on payment and subscriptions, community behaviour, copyright protection, and circumstances where you’re allowed to terminate user’s accounts.”
Now you might think that putting all the above is a massive ball ache, but you’d be surprised at just how easy it is to place these types of contraception over your little blog. All you have to do is head over to this website I found called freeprivacypolicy.com.
Easy peasy lemon squeezy!
2. Have a Repellent Handy
The last thing any of us want to catch is an STD. STDs are nasty pieces of work. The problem is that some people lack any sort of creative nous, so they search the internet looking for content to steal instead of coming up with their own.
So, what can you do about it?
Something I use on my blog that a fellow blogger told me about is the DMCA. (Not to be confused with the YMCA young men!) By registering your website with them, you can copy and paste this scary-looking badge (see below), which serves as a deterrent to any STD. It’s a bit like displaying a beware of dog sign on your front lawn.
The other thing they will do, if you happen to find out you’ve contracted an STD, is they will take down that stolen content for you for free. All you have to do – after you have registered your site with them – is report it!
A good deal, I think you’ll agree!
3. Invent Your Own Moves
Listen, we all “steal” ideas from one another. To quote Pablo Piccaso, “Good artists copy, great artist steal.” Learning to steal like an artist without actually stealing is a skill.
To use an example, Apple didn’t invent the tablet, but they did invent the iPad.
The big difference is repurposing specific ideas and connecting the dots in our own unique way. What we don’t do (what you should never do) is simply copy and paste. That is to say – we create our own original content that is influenced by others.
Anyway, without stating the obvious, here are a couple of excellent reasons for creating original content:
- You’ll know that your work hasn’t been stolen and that you’re not infringing any copyright or plagiarism laws.
- You immediately own the rights to that content. No matter how unlovable that piece of work is, that baby is yours. That baby is something you can be proud of!
4. Make Sure You Get Consent
The other thing one should do is give credit where credit is due. For example, I can say that the idea for this blog post came from fellow blogger Shelly. Who, incidentally, runs a much better blog than mine over at growingwithspawn.com. (Check it out!)
This is true. A blog post of hers a while back sparked the idea for this one. I simply decided to expand upon it with additional research while using my own twisted sense of humour. (Hello original content.)
Of course, if you plan to use and/or quote large chunks of people’s work directly, then it’s best to ask first. Most people don’t bite. In fact, when it comes to blogging, they physically can’t, which is excellent news!
It also happens that bloggers quite enjoy the backlinks. You’ll find if you make an effort to give credit, you might just receive the same in return. Give to receive, dear reader. Give to receive.
Just a heads up.
This stuff isn’t hard, of course. First and foremost, practice safe sex blogging by wearing some protection. Other than that, basically, just do the right thing. Be respectful towards bloggers of the opposite sex… or the same sex.
Wait?! What am I trying to say again?
That’s right – just be respectful!
If you really love their work and want to use it, ASK PERMISSION. If you’re in doubt about whether your work infringes someone else rights, then GIVE CREDIT.
It can’t hurt, right? (Well, maybe the first time.)
Anyway, that’s it from me for today. Hopefully, you learned something about safe sex… and also blogging.
Time for a cigarette!