Chris Anderson of Wired has started an interesting debate suggesting we need to think radically about transparency in the new age. What follows are my own thoughts about his six categories.
About me. First essential here is the ownership of a blog. Is it part of the Murdoch, empire, a totally private person, or a person connected with a big organisation. Second, though the employment record is useful, our opinions are not dictated by that. I like the approach by Howard Owens who in his about instances things like his many interests, including making model cars, singing and playing the guitar. There is also the matter of defining moments in our lives which shape who we are and strongly influence our attitudes. This can include, as Adrian Monck has pointed out, severe illness. For me the defining moments include nearly dying of tubercular meningitis when I was 19 and more recently being labelled a manic depressive.
Show what we’re working on. Don’t like this. I have many half-developed ideas. Don’t want to disclose them because they time to germinate. That is an internal process best not interrupted.
Process as Content. Excellent. If we have a full transcript on an important interview it is useful to make that available as well as the article we have written based on it.
Privilege the Crowd. I do not go as far as giving equal status to comments, though I allow them without moderation.
Let readers decide what’s best. Not for me at this stage in my life. I want to follow my own imperative and write about matters which might only be ‘popular’ with a small number of readers.
Wikifiy everything. Let the readers edit what we write. Don’t agree. I am with Jeff Jarvis on this one. We use our journalistic skills to maintain standards so far as we can. We should not cede authorship to unknowns who may not have any evidence to back the assertions they are making.
But I do like the total thrust of Anderson’s approach. We should make it clear in what we write, how we know what we say we know and disclose the process which leads us to write what we write. So, for instance, when we use the stream of consciousness style, we should not censor too much of it, so the reader sees the twists and turns that leads the pen to the end of the story.