Blogger Responsibility: Where Do We Draw the Line?

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Hi, I'm Tina!

I’m the owner of Carrots ‘N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.

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Fun workout today! 😎 Murphy and I went for a 2-mile run/walk around the neighborhood. We’re both training for races (Run to Remember for me; Pug 5K for him) so we did our training run together. Running buddies rule!

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Murphy felt strong for the entire two miles”” he even did a few sprints at the end– but he plopped down on the porch as soon as we got home. He was exhausted! Two miles is pretty far for a dog with short legs!

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Warm weather = smoothies. In the mix: frozen blueberries, banana, plain yogurt, almond milk, chia seeds, and vanilla protein powder. I also ate a couple handfuls of cherries and a piece of toast with sunflower butter on it.


Blogger Responsibility

As you probably know, I sat on a panel at Fitbloggin’ called Blogger Responsibility: Where Do We Draw the Line? It was was moderated by Lisa Johnson, who also participated in the panel, and included MizFit and me. The idea for the panel developed after the response to the “The Hunger Diaries” article by Marie Claire magazine. You can read my post about it here.

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When “The Hunger Diaries” article came out, I honestly wanted to hide under a rock because the days that followed were crazy. Assumptions were made. Fingers were pointed. Mean-spirited comments erupted all over the healthy living community. Nearly all of the incidents mentioned in the article were taken out of context to fit the author’s own personal agenda, but the situation helped spark some great conversation in the blog world about blogger responsibility.

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One of the first questions that we addressed during the panel was whether bloggers are qualified to dispense health advice or not. There is such a range of titles, certifications, and credentials in the blog world, it’s hard to say who is really qualified. In Massachusetts, for instance, you can call yourself a ”˜nutritionist’ without any sort of training. (FYI: If you’re looking for nutrition advice, a Registered Dietitian is your best bet.) Everyone on the panel agreed if you’re not a trained professional, it’s better to be conservative with the type of information you share on your blog. MizFit added that she doesn’t give specific fitness regimens to her readers.

If you’re a regular reader of CNC, you know that I blog about my life. I’m not a expert in anything (except my own life and probably Murph’s), so if a reader asks me a question that I’m not qualified to answer, I always refer them to a professional (RD, doctor, personal trainer, etc.). I’m not afraid to say that I don’t know. As bloggers, we need to know our individual limits, especially since our influence over some of our readers might be quite deep.

Sometimes, however, I write posts sharing my own experiences and offer advice to my readers. I love to help people and often benefit from reading other bloggers’ stories and suggestions, so I like to share the same type of posts on my blog. When I do, I usually include a disclaimer message at the beginning of the post (similar to what I did here), which reminds readers that I am not a trained professional and the information provided is based on my personal experiences and opinions.

During the panel, when I mentioned my practice of including disclaimers in my blog posts, a woman in the audience immediately shot up her hand and expressed her surprise. She didn’t think it was necessary to include disclaimers because readers should be responsible for themselves. Shortly after this woman’s comment, another member of the audience asked: “Is it arrogant to assume readers will be influenced by a blogger this much? What about reader responsibility?”

Personally, I add a quick disclaimer to some of my posts because I’m sure it helps some of my readers and it only takes a minute to do. However, there seemed to be an annoyed contingent in the audience that thought the subject was assuming readers were “idiots” if we, as bloggers, need to be this cautious for them. Of course, this is a great topic for discussion, so I leave you with a couple of questions:

Where do we draw the line when it comes to blogger responsibility? What do you think is your responsibility as a blog reader?

Here’s the entire transcript from the Blogger Responsibility panel.

P.S. Check out Brie’s Blog for Dogs registry event to help benefit the homeless and abandoned animals in Joplin, Missouri, who have been devastated by the tornado.

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