Saturday, July 29, 2006

Blogging and work

Do you blog while at work? I’ll admit I do from time to time, but I always confine it to downtime or lunchbreaks, and make the time up elsewhere as needed. I also avoid blogging about work and topics I’d cover at work.

It’s a fine line though that all bloggers need to carefully tread. According to a story in the Halifax Chronicle Herald, one blogger in Paris went too far and was fired by her employers for “loss of trust” and damaging her employer’s reputation. She’s suing her former employers for US$110,000 in damages.


In this case, it looks to me like she might have gone too far. For example, two days she took off work to allegedly care for her children she acknowledged in her blog she was playing hooky. It's still a sad story though, and a cautionary tale.


There have also been cases closer to home, notably Penny Cholmondeley, who was fired from her job as a marketing officer for Nunavut Tourism in 2004 because they objected to her blog writings.

Interestingly, it seems there is a term for bloggers bring fired for their blogging: getting “dooced.” It refers to the case of a Heather B. Armstrong, who was fired for blogging about her colleagues. Her site is www.dooce.com, hence “dooced.”

H/T for the Paris story to The Mediasphere & The Blogsphere. It’s the blog of Dr. Abby Goodrum, a professor at the Ryerson School of Journalism. On a semi-related sidenote, she’s currently working on a study of blogging and journalism that should make for an interesting read.


Back to blogging and work, there’s also an interesting conversation on the topic happening at Carmi Levy’s Written Inc. blog.


Given the increasing frequency of cases like this and the libel chill story the other day, I know I’m going to be more careful in the future about when, what, and how I blog. Initially I blogged anonymously, concerned about the work/personal life divide. But a few months later I decided that as long as I avoided work topics it shouldn’t be an issue, and I felt blogging under my name lent more weight to my writings than blogging anonymously.


Whether your're anonymous or not though, as these examples show the risks are still the same. I’d be interested in hearing from you. How do you handle the work/blog divide? How did you make your decision on anonymity/non-anonymity, and why?

Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers

3 comments:

Robert said...

I try to keep any blogging done during the day quick and simple, so it can be done during a break or lunch. The email posting feature on blogger is useful for this.

The possibility of being sued over a blog is pretty scary... that was a post that political bloggers of all stripes would have been well advised to take note of.

Ryan B. Patrick said...

Do you blog while at work? I’ll admit I do from time to time, but I always confine it to downtime or lunchbreaks, and make the time up elsewhere as needed. I also avoid blogging about work and topics I’d cover at work.

Speaking of covering, I'd say this statement effectively covers your posting-at-work behind. ;)

A BCer in Toronto said...

Be careful what you call kitchen implements bradley...