Publishing great content is not without its risks
In this inaugural post on the Castleford Online Marketing blog we've decided to talk about the revolution in digital content that we've witnessed over the last decade.
Back in 2000, there was a vanguard of bloggers using the first free and simple platforms to share their thoughts with the world. But today's Blogosphere would be virtually unrecognisable to those early adopters.
There are now thought to be upwards of 100 million active blogs worldwide, with around 10% of them based in Australia and New Zealand. Literally anyone can become a publisher these days and if we believe some of the statistics, most of us have.
But while there are undoubtedly a good number of inactive blogs out there inflating the numbers, well-maintained, authoritative blogging has permeated a broad range of industries and interests and often drives the mainstream media agenda. Newspapers, magazines and TV stations regularly get exclusives from leading blogs and ask bloggers to provide expert comment.
The second iteration of the online environment, Web 2.0, has shifted power towards individuals, enabling them to build a virtual following and communicate directly with their target audience.
But anyone planning to enter the publishing game needs to be aware that with this great power come responsibility and an element of risk. There are numerous examples of bloggers being threatened with lawsuits for libel or copyright infringement. Similarly, posts on Twitter or activity on Facebook has attracted the attention of employers, the police and the courts in a number of countries.
As a proportion of the total volume of blogs, tweets and status updates, these cases are tiny. But they serve as a reminder that publishing content online is not like sending an email or talking to your friends in a bar.
You are putting material out into the public domain where it could be (and hopefully will be) read by thousands of people. Careless blogging and tweeting can have serious consequences. Even if it doesn't lead to a day in court, it can damage your reputation, perhaps permanently.
Now, we obviously have to declare an interest here. As a provider of news stories, blogs and evergreen articles for websites, we would encourage businesses, government agencies and non-profits to trust content publication to a professional partner (like us).
But leaving obvious bias on these matters to one side, you only have to look at this recent case in Britain where a local politician looks to have tweeted away his career. Whether you think Mr Compton deserves to be punished for his tweet, or that he's simply a victim of political correctness, the message is clear: think before you publish.