#HLS50Shades Recap

by Heather on September 11, 2012

in 2012 Recaps

The Fuzzy Grey Areas of Blogging

Rachel Wilkerson, never one to avoid touchy subjects, hosts this panel with Dori Manela and Teri Zawrotny; together, they’ll tackle questions bloggers often wonder about, but hardly ever discuss — especially not together by the hundreds. We’re talking blogging ethics – we’ll touch a bit on what the law says, then move on to all the questions left behind by what the law DOESN’T say. Topics in this grey area (we hear there are 50, to be exact) include comment policies and handling negative feedback, changing your mind about products/diet choices/workouts you’ve raved about, being honest and authentic while protecting your privacy, accepting free stuff, and so much more. Get ready to go there, friends!



  • Editing Content/Comments/Tweets: What is your approach?
    • Think through what you write before you publish
    • It can be tempting to edit when you’re called out for something negative.
      • Address it directly
      • Avoid deleting or editing if at all possible
    • Twitter is real-time.
      • Blogging allows you to edit and think about your words before publishing.
      • Think before you tweet!DSCF6824
  • Moderating Comments/Conversation:
    • Do you have a comment policy for your blog?
      • It’s a good thing to have, puts your thoughts on the matter out there for readers and visitors, from the start.
      • Comment policies can help readers feel safe to share their ideas, if you want a good discussion – especially on controversial/hot topic posts.
    • Bloggers tend to get defensive.
      • We want to defend our blog because it’s our turf.  We take ownership of it.
      • Sometimes this isn’t the best position to take.
      • Moderating everything doesn’t allow a real discussion to happen.
    • Teri suggests the setting in wordpress that allows you to moderate the first comment left by an email address, but once that user has been approved, their future comments get through without moderation.


  • How do bloggers remain authentic and still protect their privacy and their family and friends?
    • Privacy is a Catch-22
      • if you don’t talk about it, you’ve got privacy
      • but that may not be authentic. honest posts are good!
    • Protecting the privacy of others should impact how you blog.
      • You’re not the only person in your stories.
    • The best blogs are the ones that have an opinion.
      • Be genuine and true to who you are.
    • If you have a full-time job, it can influence your content.
      • You are still always representing the company, and the blog.
      • it’s a fine line.
      • Does your company have a social media policy?
        • Find out and learn their expectations


  • Your blog is a progression of your life throughout the years. Do you owe it to your readers to alert them when you change opinions from previous posts?
    • If you make a big change in your life that is very relevant to your blog, that should be addressed.
      • Try not to be defensive about the situation.
    • If you change your thoughts/opinions on something, edit the original post to add a link to the new post with your updated thoughts.
  • Giveaways and reviews
    • are they valuable to companies and bloggers?
    • what if you don’t like the product?
      • we have a responsibility to our readers, ourselves, and the companies, last.
      • Teri adds a line at the end of her review saying if she would spend her own money on the product


"Keep your words soft and tending because tomorrow you may have to eat them." Author Unknown #HLS50Shades

"I don't think anyone owes their readers anything other than being genuine." @ #HLS50shades #HLS12

"You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world and there's still going to be somebody who hates peaches." - Dita Von Teese #HLS50shades

If you change your comment policy, let your readers know. #HLS50shades

RT @: If you're angry, write down what you want to say and wait 24 hours before publishing. #HLS50Shades
Healthy Living Blogs

"...it's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself." getting real at #hls50shades #hls12

"Now I've made it as a blogger" -@ after a negative comment, got a great laugh from this crowd on this one. #HLS50Shades

"To me, posting only positive stuff when I'm not feeling positive is not telling the whole story."-- @ #HLS50Shades #hls12
Theodora Blanchfield

My blog is part of my resume. The best job for me is one that accepts that it is part of my life. - @ #HLS50Shades #HLS12
Ashley Byron

best posts are the most honest ones.. but there are lines of privacy/protection when it comesto family/friends #HLS50Shades
Shore to Run

In product review posts, end with "would I spend my own money on this product?" Yes or no. - @ #HLS12

I'm not the only person in this story- this is only one side of the story- on the privacy discussion #HLS50shades
shannon kay

Your blog is a progression of your life throughout the years. Do you owe it to your readers to change old posts/opinions? #HLS50Shades

@ I don't think so! You can reference old posts in new posts and say whoa! Look how I've changed. Makes u more dynamic and real!
Aundra Weissert


Just a One Girl Revolution: #HLS12 Live: The Fuzzy Grey Areas of Blogging


Rachel Wilkerson writes the blog The Life & Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson, where she covers the “getting it” moments when a light bulb goes off and suddenly everything makes sense, and recently started Elena Has It All, a blog about how women are treated by the media, women’s media, other women, etc. Her work has been featured on Shape.com and Yahoo! Shine, and she is a panelist for U by Kotex’s Real Answers. When she’s not freelancing, she is working full-time as a copywriter and social media and community manager for an online entertainment company in Houston, TX.

Dori Manela is a native New Yorker who recently moved to Jersey City, where life is better in every way except proximity to her favorite fitness class. She (mostly) maintains a rigorous once-a-week posting schedule at Dori’s Shiny Blog, where she writes about her adventures in running, exercise classes, her chronic GI illness and life’s absurdities. In real life, she’s a social media manager for a multi-brand beauty company. She manages a set of content websites including Fit-a-licious, designed to show women 30+ that health is attainable at any age.

Teri Zawrotny, a Utah native and Winston Salem, NC transplant, is the blogger behind A Foodie Stays Fit. Teri is a corporate digital marketer by day and a health blogger by night. Her blog focuses on creating healthy recipes, sharing fitness tips for both new and experienced exercisers, and enjoying the simple things in life. She is a Vibram FiveFingers runner and vinyasa yoga devotee, a certified fitness instructor, an Instagram fashionista, and a boxer dog lover.

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