Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Careful Blogging- Don't get Dooced

There's a difference between the right to free speech and right to speak freely.

If you don't think that's true then consider the the stories of those who have been 'dooced'. Urban Dictionary-dot-com, defines the word dooce as: "to lose one’s job because of one’s website."

There is even a website by a woman who was dooced for writing about work online. I love her 'about page' that explains who she is and how she got dooced.

And her advice to bloggers about work is priceless...

"My advice to you is BE YE NOT SO STUPID. Never write about work on the internet unless your boss knows and sanctions the fact that YOU ARE WRITING ABOUT WORK ON THE INTERNET. If you are the boss, however, please don’t be a bitch and talk with your hands. And when you order Prada online, please don’t talk about it out loud, you rotten whore."

Another example is the employee of theDurham Herald Sun who was the subject of the Washington Post article on February 10th. One of her posts read, "I really hate my place of employment..." And it went on according to the verbatim in the post article.

I would argue that, when blogging, you can't burn the bridge that you have to cross going to work everyday. If you hate your job so bad that all you can do is sit on the computer at work and bad mouth the boss then it's probably time to find a new job, maybe even a new profession.

BUT, we all have our bad days and like to vent and spout off about the things that happen at work. Too many details, however, could cross that thin line that separates us from the one down at the unemployment office.

I can say for one that even before I started writing on the TV industy website B-roll-dot-net and before I joined the rank and file of the blogosphere that I was put in my place by the bosses for letting too much information about a disagreement with a co-worker become known to an employee of another TV Station. I was just venting to a buddy, but the word got back to my boss and I was toast for a few days.

Rusty Surrette of a TV station in Beaumont, Texas wrote these suggestions on his blogsite today. They were adapted from an article he saw about this subject.

"Here's some advice the article suggested for any blogger posting information about his/her career:

*Make it clear that the views expressed are the individual's. (I plan to do this after I complete this post)

*Respect the company's confidentiality and proprietary information. ( I think I've done a good job with that)

*Consult a manager if there's a question about what's appropriate. (Here's a better solution -- don't post anything that would not be appropriate)

*Be respectful of others. (Of course)

*Ensure that blogging doesn't interfere with work commitments. (I blog on my lunch break and at home)

There ya go ." -from

So as we blog we should remember that, unless we are independently wealthy, self employed or are funded by federal grants or political action committees, we still have a number 1 responsibility to our employers.

We need to keep in mind to stay on the right(or left depending on your political orientation) side of the line when talking about work, especially in right to work states like North Carolina where an employer can fire you for no reason what-so-ever.

That would give you something us something to write about, now wouldn't it?

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