As a former journalist I have some real concerns about internet writing. It seems everybody's doing it, but is everybody qualified to do it? This should be of concern all internet users.
Not only is it difficult to earn decent pay by writing on the internet, but I see another problem as well.
Catering to Google
I am a big fan of Google. I too have my Google adsense account and try to use the proper meta tags. I want to please Google too. After all, it is Google that hosts this blog. But, it seems that writers are more interested in how Google perceives your work than facts and information internet readers are seeking. This is akin to newspapers catering to advertisers instead of their loyal readers. And look what happened to them. Google is a business. It should cater to advertisers, but writers should not.
Folks seem to be more interested in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), page rank, and visibility, than they are about checking facts.
For example, I came across an article this morning, written by a citizen journalist, on one of those writing sites that touts 'write what you know.' The article was clearly her opinion. What she said could be construed as being detrimental to the person she wrote about. I hope he doesn't sue. Clearly her opinion, the article was presented as if it was fact, in a newspaper style. Now, I've been known to have strong opinions myself, but only with supporting evidence and an opposing viewpoint.
Her story was later picked up by a blog that quoted her, giving false credibility to her story.
I've also come across researching issues only to find the same misinformation copied over and over and over again.
A call to internet writers
Consider this a call to all internet writers -- check your facts before you publish anything. Is the information you are publishing reliable enough for your child to use in his/her term paper?
I love the internet and I don't want to see it filled with garbage. What we write lasts forever. I have found the internet to be an incredible resource. I would hate to see it tainted with bad information. Let's all band together as writers and do whatever we can to ensure that what makes it to the internet is responsible, factual, and legitimate.