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When A Blogger Blogs…

Can an employer intervene? From the NY Times this morning::

As the practice of blogging has spread, employees like Mr. Kennedy are coming to the realization that corporations, which spend millions of dollars protecting their brands, are under no particular obligation to tolerate threats, real or perceived, from the activities of people who become identified with those brands, even if it is on their personal Web sites.

They are also learning that the law offers no special protections for blogging – certainly no more than for any other off-duty activity.

The notion that you should blog anonymously to avoid getting fired though – as suggested by the Electronic Frontier Foundation – is, well, ludicrous. First, anonymity is pretty much impossible on the web. If what you are going to blog is that bad it’s likely all you would be doing is staying the inevitable. Blogging on your work or employer in a public forum needs to be done in the context of their policies, practices and culture. A better rule might have been, use your head – and where you’re not confident of that, blog on something other than you boss. You have no protection either way. Get over it.

Blogging on matters of work, while still working where you work, will always be a bit of a grey area. No policy will fix that without killing the spirit in which blogging is undertaken. Nial’s story is a positive one. One based on open dialog. The employer acted responsibly. The employee acted responsibly – and with sensitivity. Where there is no dialog folks get fired and employers good names get tarnished.

3 Responses

  1. By Gary Potter on April 19th, 2005 at 6:36 am

    Spot on!

  2. By Steven Kempton on April 19th, 2005 at 2:13 pm

    I think there are two possible solutions for employees who want to blog about work. Be so important to the company that losing you would hurt more than controlling your blogging. Or leave and start your own company. Both are really positive strategies.

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