From Oh My! Themes

A New Year’s Revolution

New Year's Revolution, illustration of hands breaking free from shackles

Dear loves & fellow makers,

Why don’t we abandon resolutions on the garbage heap of good intentions and commit ourselves to revolutions instead? In the face of fear, intolerance, uncertainty, and rising rage I raise an overflowing glass to call in revolution, a toast to goodness, a cheers to the possibility of change. If “magic is the art of changing consciousness at will”1 then I am a believer, not in magic that requires capes or wands, but in the kind we make together in the humblest of ways. The magic that can do the nearly impossible trick of changing minds, softening hearts, connecting lives. 

Imagine if we harnessed all the energy spent on personal development and self-improvement at the start of each year, invested it into reimagining the world. The time for resolutions has past, it is revolution time now. And so with reverence and trust in redemption – this is my New Year’s Revolution:

My revolution is not bloody, does not call for flag waving, coups, or pageantry. This revolution is a refuge built from the warmth of hearth and home, comfort, welcome, and wonder – a revolution of care, healing, nurturance. The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house2, we need councils of ladles and knitting needles to stir, stitch, weave a new world into being. They can keep their war rooms, my revolution is warm rooms, senseless kindness. A revolution of the mothering kind, mending the world with gentle ferocity, a great tenderness for all our bruised and broken places.

I’m calling in a revolution of potlucks, shared harvests to fill and feed our deepest hungers and insecurities, meals that remind us of our humanity with bread and roses. This revolution is rooted in history, planted in the stories of our ancestors, drawing power from the long river of time. Bigger than borders, connecting across cultures, classes, genders, beliefs, abilities, generations – a dream of a common language3. My revolution has no need for experts, gurus, special training, or elite abilities – anyone can be of service contributing small acts that seem insignificant alone but aggregate become an unstoppable force. An army of respecting elders, holding small people, feeding each other, reaching out, showing up, defeating hatred and segregation with steady applications of presence. Loneliness has become an epidemic and community is the cure, to feel in our hearts core, the reality of others4, then behave accordingly.

Every person is a world with their own personal geography, politics, and possibilities – my respectful revolution will draw a bigger circle5, big enough to hold, cradle, unite us with all our mismatched rhetoric and ideologies. One so large and expansive that those who stay outside shiver in the coldness of a life lived without the warmth of community and knock on the door, asking to please come inside. My revolution will always welcome you in and offer a seat at the table. 

This revolution is not worth fighting for, but is worth crafting, steadily, with patience and careful attention – a homemade, handmade revolution of belonging. To this I devote my work, my days. To this I dedicate my life.

What will be your New Year’s Revolution?

1 Dion Fortune, “Magic is the art of causing changes to occur in consciousness, in conformity with will”.

2Audre Lorde, ‘The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House’, from Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches

3Adrienne Rich, ‘The Dream of a Common Language: Poems 1974-77’

4 Margaret Laurence, ‘My Final Hour’

5Dr. Pauli Murray, An American Credo, “When my brothers try to draw a circle to exclude me, I shall draw a larger circle to include them.”

New Year's Revolution, illustration of resist fists holding up 2018 banner

Ethical Guidelines for Blogging

ethical guidelines for bloggers

Blogging seems simple enough! But did you know that you could get in legal trouble for blogging, or at least risk angering someone you admire? Consider some basic blogging ethics and understand the legal issues with blogging. Not only do you want to keep things legal, but you want your readers to trust and respect you. Here are some things to think about.

Copyright and credit

If you’re able to write all the content for your blog, and create all the graphics and take all the photos, you will be in the clear as far as copyright infringement goes. A great side effect of all this diligence is that your blog will shine for the hard work you’re putting into it.

Not everyone has the skill and the time to create every last bit of content from scratch. If you don’t, make sure you’re using images correctly. Your only legitimate ways to gather images for your blog are:

  1. Create the photo or graphic yourself
  2. Use paid or free stock photography with an appropriate license
  3. Get permission from the content creator to re-use their work

Just because someone posted an image on their own site or on social media doesn’t mean it can be posted anywhere. If you will be posting images that you didn’t create, you need to have the right to do that.

When in doubt, if you’re putting any kind of content on your blog that you haven’t created yourself, you should both ask the creator for permission, and credit that person in your blog post.

If you’re re-using written content, it’s usually okay to insert an attributed quote into your text (and even better if you link back to the source). It’s not okay to re-print someone else’s entire article without permission.

If your post is based off of the original idea of someone else’s, share the credit and mention the inspiration in your post.

Truth and opinion

You may not think of yourself as a journalist, but as a blogger, you are responsible for earning your readers’ trust. You need to be clear about what is fact and what is your opinion. When speaking of others, be sure that you’ve verified what you’re writing about them. Libel is a real thing that you can get in legal trouble about.

Be transparent with your readers about what is editorial and what is advertising. Are you sharing affiliate links? Did you receive payment or get free product to blog about a certain topic? Readers need to know if they’re getting your unbiased opinion, or if your writing is affected by a relationship with an advertiser.

Giveaways and contests

Before you go wild promoting your blog or business with giveaways and contests, read up on how to do these legally. Your innocent blog giveaway may be an illegal lottery in some states. If your prize is worth enough, there will be tax concerns you need to think about.

This article gives a brief overview of how to keep your contests legit:

But Everyone Else is Doing It: Why There are So Many Illegal Social Media Contests

Marketing and spam

When promoting your blog, make sure that you do so tastefully, and steer clear of anything spammy. This means not sending unsolicited emails, not posting inappropriately about your business in public forums, and not forcing advertisements on people who aren’t looking for them.

Even in your own spaces (your blog, your social media accounts), remember that people want value from you, not an endless stream of ads.

Privacy and policies

Always respect your readers’ privacy. This means keeping their email address private, and if you collect any data about them, you shouldn’t share this information with others, or use this information inappropriately. Your emails must be opt-in, and you can’t share your email lists with other people or companies.

Make some policies for your blog and be sure to share them with your readers! What is your comments policy, privacy policy, terms and conditions for use of your site? These don’t need to be pages and pages of legalese, but could instead be a few sentences by your comments box, or a promise next to your email opt-in that you won’t share email addresses with other companies.

Did you know that the comments people write on your blog posts are not yours to use? By default, they are copyrighted by the comment poster. If you want to use that wording elsewhere on your site or in your marketing materials, you’ll need permission. You can get this permission in advance by having a comments policy stated on your site.

More help with your blog

This is a brief overview of topics to think about. If you blog, I urge you to spend some time on Google learning more about blogging ethics and legalities.

This post kicks off a series on the Aeolidia website about starting a blog for creative businesses. Upcoming posts will discuss whether you should have a blog, share the steps to take to start a blog, give you a huge list of ideas of what to blog about, and cover common blogging mistakes I see.

Take a moment now to subscribe to my newsletter, so you won’t miss the next posts:

Get more tips on blogging

Since we’re talking ethics here, I had better mention that I will keep your email address completely private, and will not share it with others or use it for anything but to send you my newsletter!

Do you have a blog? Are you thinking of starting a blog? What questions do you have about blogs for business, or blogs on ecommerce sites? Please share in the comments. I’d love to offer some personalized tips.

Be ethical inquirers this March with #OMHG

Ethics Explorers: OMHG's 5th Annual Ethical Inquiry

Every March OMHG explores ethics – from keeping our handmade community safe, reporting on the ethics of Pinterest, how to ethically pitch bloggersthe future of handmade, protecting your IPfighting infringement, registering trademarks, and so much more in the archive. Since it is now Ethics Awareness Month and National Craft Month, for our 5th year we’re becoming ethical inquirers digging into the ethics of handmade and the creative community.

No communities, companies, or creative folk act with integrity 100% of the time. Regardless of the person, craft or industry, ethics are a practice that take constant work, learning, and peer accountability. Unlike lots of industries handmakers and creative entrepreneurs don’t have a set standard of ethics, conduct or accreditation, or any real method of reporting ethical problems. This has left us often taking matters into our own hands and making things public in blog posts and social media, privately trying to figure out the best options, or just keeping quiet. The trouble with this is unless people are willing and able to speak up together all sorts of things might be hiding in the dark. So put on your headlamps and bust out the magnifying glasses – ethics don’t need to lack compassion or be painfully boring – looking at the hard stuff means we love our community and want to keep us all accountable when we make choices that cause harm.

This month we’re inviting you to help us find, and shine a light on, the ethical trouble spots in our industry and community. Fill out this simple survey, share your thoughts, invite your creative comrades to join in and become ethical inquirers together! 

*If you are reading this post by email or RSS be sure to visit OMHG to submit your survey*

Thank you for being willing to dig into the tough stuff and be part of our 5th annual ethics exploration! Join our community for the head + heart + hands to support our work, join us every Thursday on Twitter to talk ethics with #OMHG or check back during March to read all our Ethics Explorers posts.