2008.03.15

I’ve been thinking about the effects of blogging, specifically on business. There’s a reason for this…

Last year we went camping at Bark River Campground. It sucked. I wanted to let people know this, because I didn’t want other people to have the experience I did, so I did what any self respecting blogger would do… I blogged about it.

The result was: Bark River Campground: Worst Campground Ever, which described my experience. I sort of knew where things were headed. Their site sucks and within a few days, my post was the second result in a search for “Bark River Campground” I was slightly pleased.

Fast forward 9 months, and I get a phone call. It took me a number of “I’m sorry, can you repeat that?” to get to the part where I heard “internet” and “post” and “worst campground ever” and I then realized who I was talking to. Yup, they called.

I talked to the folks at Bark River Campgrounds. The man I talked to said he understood that I had the right to say what I wanted, but he also said they try very hard to make things nice at the campground. I wasn’t convinced of that, but I did thank him for opening a dialog about the issue. I did get the idea that he didn’t actually read the post because he asked me questions that would have been answered if he had read it. But then again, bloggers tend to think everyone reads their posts…

So, what is the responsibility of a blogger? What is the effect of what we write? On businesses? On people? Like I said, I knew what I was doing, and I had some clue what the effect would be. I honestly did not expect to hear from them, but was pleasantly surprised by them saying that I had every right to say it, and they didn’t expect me to take it down.

9 Responses to “The Blogging Effect”

  1. I think your only obligation is to let the campground reply to your post, either as a comment or somewhere else you post as a link at the end.

    I read your post, and it’s fair. The owners of that campground should have noise and conduct rules. The last campground I stayed at was a total hardass about noise after 10 p.m. and didn’t allow booze in the park at any time. The result was a nice family environment.

  2. Ashe DrydenNo Gravatar says:

    I think the responsibility of the blogger is the same as the journalist – be truthful and subjective, but not unnecessarily cruel.

    I regularly post to twitter and sometimes to yelp about both good and bad experiences I’ve had at restaurants, stores, etc. I use what other people say about businesses to decide whether or not I want to grace them with my pocket-book linings.

  3. Pete-

    I think you have been more than fair in just writing this post. I remember your post from last year, and while I did not remember the name of the campground I remember the BAD experience you had. If someone asked me to go camping, I would have checked to make sure it was not that campground.

    Flash forward to this post. I think it is cool that they contacted you and did not ask (or threaten) to take it down. My opinion of them just jumped up a notch. I might still not camp there, but it is better. So you have done your part as a blogger.

    -Larry

  4. I think it’s important for bloggers that want to say something critical (or as a promotion) to allow comments. Your trust relationship as a blogger is built by the masses agreeing with you. If you post something, and five other people comment agreeing, you might be on to something.

    It’s definitely going to have an effect on a small business if you say something about them online. It’s whether you allow comments or not (and actually get them) that will ultimately magnify that effect.

  5. ScottNo Gravatar says:

    I am so dissapointed with your post about Bark River Campground.
    We have been in this campground for so many years and it is a great campground…and the owner and managment are very concerned, friendly and nice people.
    I would say that you are going too far when you suggest to others to not camp in this campground…that is unfair because you are hurting their business …you are not mentioning at any part that you talked to someone about your “uncomfortable camping” before you went and put a post up like this.
    If I was the owner of this business you are writing about, I would take you to court for false and damaging comments!

    Seasonal Camper at Bark River Campground.

  6. JessicaNo Gravatar says:

    I read your blog about Bark River being the “worst campground ever” and I became quite confused. Why would you write a blog about the campground being bad when the things you were complaining about were the people around you at the campground. Also, you didn’t even go to the management of the campground and complain. They probably would have done something about it. I’ve camped there for quite a while and I find it a very good place to camp at. The people are very friendly and if you have a problem, the management will fix it right away. Also you can’t post a private conversation with someone on one of your blogs. Private conversations aren’t meant to be public.

    -Jessica

  7. Scott, I made no false comments in what I wrote. I wrote my opinion, and I posted photos of what I saw and experienced. Who knows? Maybe we just picked the wrong weekend to go there. As for talking to the management, we waited in line to do so, with my daughter who has asthma in a building where people were smoking until I saw the “NO REFUNDS!” sign, and then we gave up and left. I agree that the customers were probably more to blame for our experience than the management, but the management do manage the place, and I felt they should have prevent much of what we saw there from happening.

  8. Jessica, isn’t the management of a business responsible for it? If I went to a restaurant and a customer started swearing loudly I’d expect the management to do something about it. The management has a responsibility to all their customers to provide a pleasant experience… that’s what you are paying for. As for posting the conversation, we discussed me doing so, he requested it. As I said, maybe we just picked the wrong weekend, or the wrong people showed up, but I honestly did not see the management doing anything to prevent what was going on.

  9. HeyGabeNo Gravatar says:

    You’re under no obligation to offer them equal time. They have a website, that’s their equal time. I would think that they may have a reason to want Raster’s “”Worst Campground Ever” headline changed, but I think you can make the argument that the parenthetical (In My Experience) is implied on a personal blog. Nobody comes to a personal blog with the expectation of fair and balanced journalism– nobody with a decent reading comprehension score, anyway.

    Re: Jessica’s comment that “private conversations aren’t ment to be public”
    No, deary. Anything and everything you say is public. Always. A journalist/blogger can _offer_ you their confidence, but unless a journalist/blogger agrees to it, assume you’re speaking for all the world to hear. Assuming that the Campsite Manager caller didn’t ask to go off record, and assuming that Raster didn’t offer or agree, there’s no assumption of privacy.

    It is nice that the management contacted you to try to get to the bottom of your complaint, however, it remains to be seen if their intent of the investigation was self-improvement and awareness or litigation.

    Taking a moment to address the bizarre ad-hominem attacks directed at Raster here, I’ll just say this: Having grown up near Jefferson, I understand that you guys need a place to blow off steam after a long day working at the Frisky’s factory, and that the cops keep hassling you when you want to do your underage drinking in the Parking Lot at the Blue Boy by Highway N. I get this. Ahh! Jefferson! Gemuetlichkeit!

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