What I’m about to say is not earth shattering. It’s common sense. However, despite it being common sense, you’d be surprised how many people don’t seem to understand this concept.
In today’s blogging world, as in the journalism world, everyone wants the early story; the scoop; the information that makes you the source and causes everyone to bow at your feet in humility. Trust me. Everyone wants this. Sometimes, if you play your cards right and happen to know the right people or be at the right place at the right time, you might just get access to information that is not common knowledge. Some of this information would make a heck of a blog entry. It would mean lots of traffic and you would surely end up on Techmeme or on Digg.
Stop. Just stop.
Think. Ask yourself these questions:
- Will blogging this story cause me to lose friends or relationships?
- Will blogging the story cause me to break an embargo I agreed to? (Embargos sent without prior agreement are fair game, in my opinion)
- Will blogging the story violate an NDA?
- Will blogging the story cause other people not to share information with me?
Like I said – common sense. Personally, I’ve been given intimate knowledge of LOTS of things. Google related things. Early previews of alpha products in stealth. Insider knowledge of how organizational health of some companies. Indications of where key players may end up and who’s talking to who. What employee at a tech company is sleeping with the CEO. Yes, I have access. No I am not blogging any of this stuff. Why? Because… it will hurt my chances of getting other access or it may cause me personal relationships with folks.
Oh, and don’t share private conversations without permission.